Fundamentals of Solid-Liquid Separation

Dahlstrom, Donald A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
INTRODUCTION Solid-liquid separation is an important and many times a critical step (or steps) in a mineral or coal processing plant. Some examples of typical critical separations are as follows: 1. Operating a seven to eight stage CCD thickening circuit to re¬cover almost all of the caustic and alumina trihydrate values in an alumina plant. This must be accomplished with highly scaling slurries, starting temperatures of over 100°C and operate on a closed circuit system. 2. Making a filter step operate to produce a proper moisture for the balling step so that the pellet furnace can produce a proper product. Bentonite addition must be minimized and a good quality filtrate must be maintained to prevent abrasion of the internal parts of the filter. 3. Operating a closed water system in a coal washing plant so that reclaimed water containing less than one percent suspended solids is produced for reuse to maintain beneficiation ef¬ficiency. Refuse solids must also be thickened so that they can be effectively dewatered to meet state disposal requirements. 4. Recovering phosphoric acid values from a slurry containing gypsum and other gangue solids at an elevated temperature. This must be done while minimizing wash water and maximizing P2O5 re¬covery while simultaneously minimizing scale problems. While solid-liquid separations are important to overall performance in the processing plant flowsheet, it is also a significant factor in plant costs. Capital and operating costs for all the solid-liquid separation steps (includ¬ing water reclamation for reuse) in such plants are probably between 10 and 20%. Energy consumption can also be important in these separations. For example, in the copper concentrator, it is the third largest category in energy consumption, after comminution and flotation. Obviously, solid-liquid separation steps in a plant demand proper atten¬tion in design in order to achieve both optimum performance and cost. Simultaneously, knowledge of funda¬mentals are important to improve results in existing plants.
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