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08/29/2013

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
Pumping Non-Newtonian Slurries
Bulletin No. 14
ExcellentEngineeringSolutions
Introduction
Many slurries in the mineral processingindustries can be described as being non-Newtonian.If a fluid is in motion, shear stresses aredeveloped when particles of the fluid moverelative to each other. For successive layersof flow over a flat plate, the velocity of thefluid (u) will vary from layer to layer asdistance from the plate (y) increases, seeFigure 1
Figure 1. Variation in fluid velocity with distance

from a flat plate
Newton’s law of viscosity relates shearstress (
τ
) to the velocity gradient, alsoknown as the rate of shear strain, or simplythe rate of shear (du/dy), using a constant ofproportionality known as the dynamicviscosity (
µ
) of the fluid, as follows:
ττττ
=
µµµµ
du/dy
Fluids which do not obey Newton’s law ofviscosity are known as non-Newtonian. Therelationship of shear stress to rate of shearfor non-Newtonian fluids can be usuallyrepresented by one of the curves shown inFigure 2.Bingham Plastic behaviour is characterisedby its initial shear or yield stress (
τ
0
).

Thismeans that the fluid will not flow unless astress greater than the yield is applied. Theslope of the linear flow curve is called thecoefficient of rigidity (
η
). Bingham Plasticbehaviour is described by the equation:
ττττ
=
τ +τ +τ +τ +

ηηηη
du/dy
Figure 2. Characteristics of non-Newtonian slurries
Centrifugal slurry pumps & positive displacement pumpsare often used to handle slurries, which behave as non-Newtonian fluids. Many of these slurries can bedescribed by the Bingham Plastic model. Even slurrieswith different rheological characteristics can sometimesbe approximated by the Bingham Plastic model over alimited range of shear rates. Table 1 gives specificexamples of some Bingham Plastic slurries.
Inside this bulletin:
Basic theory
Measurements
SystemCharacteristics
SuctionPerformance
Pump PerformanceTable 1. Examples of Bingham Plastic Slurries
SlurryCw(%)Particlesize(
µµµµ
m)
ττττ
0
(Pa)
ηηηη
(Pa•s)
Fine Coal4950% - 4010.005Fine Coal6850% - 408.30.04Fly Ash6450% - 708.841.304Kaolin Clay3250% - 0.8200.03Kaolin (+ Sod.Silicate)5350% - 0.860.015Kimberlite Tails3750% - 1511.60.006Kimberlite Tails6928% - 3001320.20Phosphate Tails3785% - 1028.50.014Copper Concentrate4850% - 35190.018Copper Concentrate640.450.031Zinc Concentrate7550% - 20120.031Uranium Tails5850% - 3840.015Gold Tails5050% - 5050.087Mineral Sands Tails5550% -160300.25Coal Tails3150% - 7020.06Red Mud395% - 150230.03Red Mud5050% - 3033.20.304Red Mud53 50% - 3800.08

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
Pumping Non-Newtonian Slurries
Bulletin No. 14
ExcellentEngineeringSolutions
This bulletin outlines some basic rheological theory,describes (shear stress) / (rate of shear) measurement, andin addition presents some empirical relationships relevant toapplying centrifugal slurry pumps to a Bingham Plasticslurry. It should be noted that if slurry behaves as aNewtonian fluid, it may be treated as for water except for itsparticular density and viscosity.
Measurement of viscosity
The viscosity of a fluid (or more correctly shear stress forrate of shear) cannot be measured directly, but can becalculated from directly measurable quantities. Apparatussuitable for such measurements is generally known as aviscometer. Many types of viscometers are available. Atypical rotary viscometer is used as shown in Figure 3. Thisviscometer is usually used with a concentric cylinder (cupand bob). The gap between the cylinders is filled with theslurry under test, and the torque required to achieve aconstant angular velocity for one cylinder is measured.Figure 4 shows calculated
τ
against du/dy for a red mudslurry using this viscometer. It can also be reliably used witha vane sensor, to calculate yield stresses without the needfor extrapolation.
Figure 3. Photograph of a Haake viscometer
Apparent viscosity
The difference between apparent viscosity (
µ
a
), which isviscosity at a given rate of shear assuming Newtonianbehaviour, and the coefficient of rigidity (
η
), should beemphasised. This difference is illustrated in Figure 4. ABingham Plastic slurry will have an infinite number ofapparent viscosities, depending on the particular rate ofshear considered. Accordingly measurements should neverbe taken at a single rate of shear, and Newtonian behaviourassumed, as the results may be misleading. Apparentviscosity will only approach the coefficient of rigidity at highrates of shear.
Figure 4. Behaviour of a red mud slurry calculated from rotary viscometer measurements
Slump Plate Testing
The slump plate test provides a useful indication of slurryrheology. The test itself is very simple. The plate has anumber of graduated rings marked on it. A small cylinder isplaced in the centre of the plate concentric to the rings. Thecylinder is filled with slurry and then removed (Figure 5).The ring to which the slurry slumps indicates the yield shearstress of the slurry. Slump plate reading depends of particlesizing and slurry concentration. The greater the slump thelower the yield shear stress. This slump plate testing istypically used to indicate whether a slurry is likely to presentdifficulty in pumping and at what concentration.

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
Pumping Non-Newtonian Slurries
Bulletin No. 14
ExcellentEngineeringSolutions
Figure 5. Slump plate test
System Characteristics
To apply a centrifugal slurry pump
(Warman, Galigher,Shabaver, Hazleton, and ASH Pump)
or positivedisplacement pump
(Geho)
handling a Bingham Plasticslurry, accurate calculation of the pipe friction loss isrequired. It should be noted that S.I. units are assumedthroughout this bulletin.The pipe friction loss will depend on whether the flow is inthe laminar or turbulent regime. It is generally preferable tooperate in the laminar regime, unless there is possibility ofsolids settlement (refer to the
Weir
Slurry Pumping Manual,or enquire at your nearest
Weir
office, for calculation oflimiting settling pipeline velocity).The critical velocity (V
c
in m/s) is defined as the pipe velocityat which transition occurs from laminar to turbulent flow.Experimentally obtained critical velocities for a wide rangeof Bingham Plastic slurries are plotted against SQR(
τ
0
/
ρ
m
)in Figure 6. The following relationship can be established:
Vc = 0.4 + 22.1
m0
Where
τ
0
= Yield stress (Pa)
ρ
m
= slurry density (kg/m
3
)This relationship allows calculation of the critical velocitywith only the Bingham Plastic yield stress and the slurrydensity. Using the critical velocity, it can be determined ifflow is in the laminar or the partly or full developed turbulentregime.
Figure 6. Critical pipe velocity for Bingham Plastic Slurries
Pipe friction loss with laminar flow
The laminar pipe friction loss can be determined most easilyfrom the Buckingham equation, neglecting 4th order terms.The pressure drop (P) per metre length (L) of pipe is givenby:
P/L = 5.33
ττττ
0
/D + 32
ηηηη
• V/D
2
WhereV = Pipeline velocity (m/s)D = Inside pipe diameter (m)
η
= Coefficient of rigidity (Pa•s)or in terms of head loss (H):
H = P/
(
g •
ρρρρ
m
)Whereg = gravitational constant (m/s
2
)Alternatively, the pressure drop for large diameter pipelinesmay be scaled up directly from small bore tube viscometerresults. The wall shear stress (PD/4L) can be determinedfrom the rheogram, with the rate of shear given by 8V/D.
Pipe friction loss with turbulent flow
The rheological properties of Bingham Plastic slurries do notgreatly influence the pipe friction loss in fully developedturbulent flow. Turbulence effectively destroys the yieldstructure, causing the slurry to behave as a Newtonian fluidwith viscosity roughly equal to the coefficient of rigidity. At