Modélisation d'une cellule de flottation à lit fluidisé : application à la concentration d'un minerai de lithium

Authors: Georges-Filteau, David
Advisor: Bouchard, JocelynDesbiens, André
Abstract: The concept of fluidized-bed flotation (FBF) (e.g. HydroFloat<sup>TM</sup>) was recently introduced to improve the recovery of coarse particles (425 to 1180 μm) in mineral processing circuits. It can be depicted as a hybrid technology between column flotation and hydraulic classification. In spite of encouraging results from the first industrial applications dating back more than a decade, FBF still remains an emerging technology in the global mining industry and little effort has been undertaken regarding characterization and control for this type of equipment. Bearing this idea in mind, a dynamic model of a FBF cell based on first principles describing volume conservation balances and macro hydrodynamic conditions is proposed. The model relies on the drift-flux theory to predict the flow of three populations (i.e. bubbles, free particles and attached particles) throughout the proposed vertical mixer-in-series framework. This simulator was specifically developed to address process design, monitoring, and control problems particularly for the FBF of spodumene. The model is empirically calibrated using a probability of bubble-particle attachment and is then compared to literature data (sphalerite flotation). Simulation results demonstrate the model’s ability to reproduce the effect of operating variables (i.e. airflow rate, fluidization water flow rate and bed height) on steady-state recovery as long as the equipment operates at low turbulence. Since FBF separators are specifically designed to operate in low turbulence, this may not be an important limitation for the model in a practical sense. However, while a dynamic FBF model is proposed, it was only validated using limited steady-state recovery data for which the experimental uncertainties are unknown. Following an investigation of the operating parameters’ influence on recovery and concentrate grade, MPC and PID process control strategies are designed for the FBF of spodumene using the proposed phenomenological model. The simulation results show enhanced disturbance rejection performances with MPC strategies as they make a better use of the manipulated variables’ potential.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 13 December 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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