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Design Calculations for Slurry Agitators in Alumina Refinery

Rajendra Kunwar, India

Today I am presenting the gist of my technical paper on "Motor rating calculations


for slurry mixing agitators in Alumina refinery" which has been published recently in
aluminium issue of the magazine "Minerals & Metals Review" (page 30 and 31 in
MMR, August 2011 issue).
In various technical forums, process experts as well as equipment manufacturers
have opined that the design of agitators for mixing bauxite, residue and hydrate in
Alumina refinery is complicated and tricky issue. In this paper, we will discuss the
subject with brief description of involved terminology, associated design parameters
and methodology with sample motor rating calculations for the slurry mixing agitator
of a Pre-desilication tank of Alumina refinery.
Method to arrive at motor rating:
Impeller power for slurry mixing agitator is calculated using following mathematical
relations
Impeller Power,
P = Np * *N3 * Di5/(16*104) h.p.
Where
Di = Diameter of impeller in meters,
N = Revolution per minute for impeller,
Np = Power number for impeller and
= Specific gravity of slurry.
Sample calculations:
Simplified calculations to arrive at the motor rating for the agitator of Pre-desilication
tank of around 3000 m3 gross capacity with realistic assumptions have been
presented belowFluid Height in Tank , H = 16 m
Diameter of tank, Dt = 14 m
Slurry volume in tank = *Dt2*H/4 = * (14)2*16 /4 = 2463 m3
Solid consistency in Slurry = 50 % (w/w),
Specific gravity of slurry, = 1.602,
Viscosity of slurry, = 550 cp
Agitator Impeller Diameter, Di= 33 % of tank diameter = 14 * 33% m = 4.62 m
Tip speed of Impeller = 290 m/minute,

Drive motor RPM = 1500 rpm.


Gear Box Reduction Ratio = 75

Agitator RPM, N = Drive Motor RPM/Gear Box Reduction Ratio = 1500/75 = 20 rpm
Flow Number: Nq = 0.56
And
Power Number,

Np = 0.51 (assumed figures)

Pumping Capacity = Nq * N * Di3 m3/minute =


= 0.56 * 20 * (4.62) 3
= 1104.44 m 3/min.
= 18.41 m 3/sec.
Area of Tank = * Dt2 = *(14)2 / 4 = 153.94 m2
Bulk fluid Velocity

= pumping capacity/area of tank

= 1104.44 / 153.94= 7.18 m/min.= 23.55 ft./min.


Degree of Agitation = bulk fluid velocity / 6
(For 6 ft/min., degree of agitation =1 and Degree of agitation varies from 0 to 10)
= 23.55 / 6 = 3.93 ~ 4
Annular Area = * (Dt2- Di2 ) /4
Where
Dt = Diameter of tank
Di = Diameter of impeller in meters.
Annular Area = 3.14 * (142 (4.622) / 4 = 137.18 m2
Rising velocity of particles = pumping capacity / annular area
= 1104.44 / 137.18 = 8.051 m/min. = 0.1342 m/sec.
Tank Turnover rate = Pumping capacity / tank capacity
= 1104.44 / 2463 = 0.45 times / min.
Power Number Np

= 0.51

Shaft Power,

= Np* *(Di)5 * N3 /(16 *104)

Where
Np = Impeller power no.,
Di = Diameter of impeller in meters,
Shaft RPM, N = revolutions per minute

Shaft Power, P = 0.51 * 1.602 * (4.402)5 * 203 / (16 *104) = 85.98 h.p.
Taking Gear Box Efficiency = 80% and Drive Motor Efficiency = 95%,
Design margin

= 1.15

Drive Motor Rating = 1.15 * 85.98/(0.80 * 0.95) =130 h.p. = 97.0 kW.
Thus the drive motor of about 100 kW shall be adequate for successful
operation of agitator of 3000 m3 Pre-desilication tank in Alumina refinery.
Conclusions
The developed methodology clearly reveals that motor rating calculations for any
slurry mixing agitator can be carried out easily by simply replacing the associated
input process conditions, operating parameters, dimensions of tanks / vessel and
appropriate power number for impeller in above simplified derivation.