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MEI Online: MEI Conferences: Computational Modelling 05: Introduction

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November 7-9 2005
Sponsored by DEM Solutions Ltd

Computational modelling is the use of fundamental physical equations to predict the behaviour of complex systems. Techniques include Discrete Element Modelling (DEM), Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD), and Finite Element (FEM) and Finite Volume (FVM) methods.

Computational modelling has been used in minerals processing to simulate the motion of the charge in mills, passage and breakage of rocks through crusher jaws, hydrocyclone flow and separation, flotation cell mixing and flotation froth behaviour.

Computational modelling has been applied to improve mill liner design, optimise cyclone configuration, compare flotation cell impeller designs and study froth wash-water addition. Many of these applications have resulted in significant advances in equipment design and operation, at relatively low cost and reduced plant downtime.

There is considerable scope to expand further the use of computational methods in minerals processing. This has the potential to increase understanding of the processes, improve the capability to simulate changes to equipment and circuit operation, guide equipment design and develop novel equipment and processes. Industrial case studies that show successful application will increase confidence in and the use of these techniques, while the limitations must also be considered. The combination of different computational techniques (e.g. DEM and CDF) is relatively new, and shows great potential. Advanced measurements (e.g. tomography, LDV and PEPT) are required to validate the simulation results. Expanding the simulations to combine separate parts of a single unit operation (e.g. the pulp and froth zones in a flotation cell), multiple unit operations (mills and cyclones) and complete minerals processing flowsheets is in progress. Dynamic computational models for control and stability studies are under development.

This conference brought together researchers, mill operators and software developers to present and discuss the application of computational modelling to minerals processing. The current status and latest developments in all these areas of computational modelling, as applied to minerals processing, was presented.

Themes included:

  • Case studies in simulating and improving plant operation
  • Simulation of process circuit operation
  • New and improved equipment designs
  • Validation of simulation outputs
  • Measurement techniques for model validation
  • Advances in simulation algorithms and software
  • Limitations and drawbacks of computational techniques
  • Dynamic computational models

The organisers

Jan Cilliers
Jan Cilliers

The conference was organized by Minerals Engineering International (MEI) in consultation with Dr. Jan Cilliers from the University of Manchester, U.K.

Jan manages the Froth and Foam Research Group that developed FrothSim, a Finite Difference model for simulating flotation froths. He has co-authored a wide range of papers on froth modelling and data interpretation.



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