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Minerals Engineering 19 (2006) 13621372

This article is also available online at:


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Comparison of gas hold-up distribution measurement in a otation


cell using capturing and conductivity techniques
a,*
E. Sanwani , Y. Zhu b, J.-P. Franzidis a, E.V. Manlapig a, J. Wu b

a
Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC), University of Queensland, Isles Road, Indooroopilly, Qld, Australia
b
The CSIRO Thermal and Fluids Engineering Laboratory at Highett, Vic., Australia

Received 6 September 2005; accepted 26 January 2006


Available online 20 March 2006

Abstract

This paper presents and interprets results of experimental measurements of the spatial gas hold-up distribution in a 3 m3 glass rect-
angular otation cell at the JKMRC using two dierent techniques. The gas hold-up device with the capturing technique was developed
at the JKMRC and has been used widely in the P9 project1 while the one with conductivity technique was developed at the CSIRO Ther-
mal and Fluids Engineering laboratory at Highett, Victoria, Australia. Measurements were conducted at more than 64 locations in the
cell to determine the local gas hold-up distribution in the cell. Since the measurements using the two techniques were conducted at the
same locations, the results may be compared with each other.
The results indicate that the gas hold-up varies widely inside the otation cell. The gas hold-up distributions measured by the two
techniques are relatively similar except in some locations which can be reasonably explained.
 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Froth otation

1. Introduction descriptions of the ow patterns to be obtained, and,


therefore, should provide a scientic basic for research
Froth otation is a complex process whose perfor- and design.
mance depends upon the hydrodynamic conditions inside In recent years, the ows in agitated vessels including
the cell where the separation process takes place. The dis- otation cells have been the subject of many studies
persion of gas into bubbles in the otation cell is an particularly by numerical simulation. With the rapid
important factor that determines the hydrodynamic con- development of computer capability and capacity, and
ditions inside the cell. The dispersion of gas here is the anticipated progress in computational uid dynamics
dened as the distribution of incoming air through the (CFD), further developments in this eld are inevitable.
volume of the cell. A spatial distribution of gas dispersion Experimental data of the spatial distribution of the ows,
parameters enables much more detailed and fundamental and of the gas dispersion properties throughout the cell,
will be required for model testing and validation. Even
*
Corresponding author. though this kind of information is very important, few
E-mail address: e.sanwani@uq.edu.au (E. Sanwani). experimental studies are available in the literature owing
1
The P9 project is a collaborative mineral processing applied project to a lack of appropriate measurement techniques.
running by project research teams from JKMRCUniversity of Queens- This paper presents measurements of the spatial distri-
land, University of Cape Town, and McGill University. The overall
project is under coordination of The AMIRA International. The project is
bution of local gas hold-up in a 3 m3 glass rectangular o-
strongly industry driven and has been in continuous operation for over 40 tation cell made using two techniques, namely capturing
years. and conductivity probes. Gas hold-up is an important

0892-6875/$ - see front matter  2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.mineng.2006.01.006
E. Sanwani et al. / Minerals Engineering 19 (2006) 13621372 1363

parameter of the performance and eciency in the ota- 3. Experimental


tion process. Since the measurements using the two tech-
niques were conducted at the same location, the results 3.1. The otation cell
were compared with each other, to evaluate the strength
and weakness of each technique. The results were also The otation cell used in these measurements was a 3 m3
used to interpret the hydrodynamic ow condition in the glass rectangular otation cell (163 cm in length, 163 cm in
cell. width, and 117.2 cm in height) tted with a Dorr-Oliver
impellerstator mechanism (Fig. 1). The diameter of impel-
ler and stator were 37.2 cm and 73.4 cm, respectively, while
2. Techniques to measure gas hold-up in otation cells
the diameter of the shaft was 7.3 cm. The height of the
impeller and stator were 23.7 cm and 33.3 cm, respectively.
Measurements of local gas hold-up in otation cells have
The bottom clearance distance between the bottom of the
typically been conducted using capturing (Gorain et al.,
tank and the impeller was 4.5 cm.
1995; Deglon et al., 2000; Power et al., 2000; Yianatos
The drive pulley was driven using V belts by a 3-phase
et al., 2001; Sanwani, 2001) and conductivity (Summers
11 kW induction motor manufactured by Teco Elec. &
et al., 1993; Gomez et al., 1991, 2003; Marchese et al.,
Mach. Co. Ltd. in Malaysia. A variable speed (VS) drive
1992; Tavera et al., 1997; Tavera et al., 2001) techniques.
was connected to the motor to facilitate changing the impel-
The principle of the capturing techniques is to encapsu-
ler speed. The VS drive was a Unidrive model UNI2403
late a volume of aerated pulp in a sampler, consisting of a
manufactured by Control Techniques Australia Pty Ltd.
4075 mm diameter cylindrical tube with two plungers
The drive was operated with a 3-phase power supply capable
150300 mm apart attached to a central rod. The plungers
of providing a wide range of frequencies to the motor, result-
have O-rings to avoid material leakage. The plungers are
ing in a wide variation in impeller speeds. The whole VS
actuated by either using a vacuum pump (Gorain et al.,
drive unit was located inside a protective casing for safety.
1995; Deglon et al., 2000) or manually (Yianatos et al.,
A blower was installed to provide the air needed for the
2001). The pulp-air mixture encapsulated between the
3 m3 cell. It was connected to the cell through the air inlet
plungers is emptied into a measuring cylinder and the vol-
pipe. The blower was a side channel type (Elektror SD72)
ume of the pulp is recorded. The volume of the space
with 3-phase 4.0 kW motor manufactured by Elektror in
between the cylinders is determined by calibration with
Germany.
water. The volume of air in the aerated pulp is calculated
A digital air ow meter was installed on to the air inlet
as the dierence between the measured volume of pulp
pipe to measure air ow rate in the 3 m3 cell. The air ow
and the calibrated volume of water. Gas hold-up (eg) is
rate was varied with the help of a high precision globe
then the volume fraction of air in each sample.
valve. A downstream pressure gauge was used to measure
The principle of the conductivity techniques to measure
the pressure at which air was delivered to the cell.
gas hold-up in otation cells is to measure the electrical
conductivity of aerated and non-aerated pulp. The gas
3.2. The gas hold-up devices
hold-up (eg) is then calculated based on Maxwells
equation:
3.2.1. Capturing probe (JK sensor)
1 kd The capturing probe developed at JKMRC, shown in
kp
eg 1 Fig. 2, consisted of a 50 mm diameter cylindrical tube with
1 0:5 kkdp a pinch valve at each end. Both valves were connected to
compressed air through the same three-way valve, so that
where kd and kp are the conductivities of aerated and non- the pinch valves can be opened and closed simultaneously.
aerated pulp, respectively. The device was immersed in the pulp in a vertical position
Measurement of gas hold-up in otation cells based on during measurement. The principle of operation was to let
the conductivity approach was initiated by the Mineral the aerated pulp pass through the tube, allowing a volume
Processing group at McGill University more than 10 years of aerated pulp to be trapped inside the tube in the space
ago (Gomez et al., 1991, 2003; Marchese et al., 1992; between the pinch valves when the pinch valves were closed
Summers et al., 1993; Tavera et al., 1997; Tavera et al., simultaneously.
2001). The sensor was developed based on the use of two The aerated pulp encapsulated between the pinch valves
so-called ow conductivity cells, an open cell and a syphon was emptied into a measuring cylinder where the air escaped
cell. The open cell measures the conductivity of the aerated into the atmosphere. The total volume of pulp contained in
pulp, while the syphon cell measures the conductivity of the the sample is determined. The volume of the space between
non-aerated pulp, which requires the exclusion of bubbles. the cylinders was determined by calibrating with water. The
The open cell is a vertical cylinder open at both ends to volume of air in the aerated pulp was calculated as the dif-
allow a relatively free ow of bubbles and pulp. The ference between the measured volume of pulp and the cali-
syphon cell, also a vertical cylinder open at the top, ends brated volume of water; the gas hold-up (eg) was then the
in a conical bottom with a small orice. volume fraction of air in each sample.
1364 E. Sanwani et al. / Minerals Engineering 19 (2006) 13621372

AC oscillator
capturing
probe

compressed conductivity
air probe

laptop
computer

froth (thin)
air layer
flows

rectangular
glass tank
impeller
shaft

stator

impeller

support arm
for the cell

Fig. 1. Schematic drawing of the experimental rig for the measurement of gas hold-up (eg).

holder signal wires, to data


acquisition system

stainless steel
three-way valve support arm
compressed air

the atmosphere

plastic

wire insulation
air
line
cylindrical pinch
rubber valve stainless steel
needle
=1.09 mm

silver plated
cylindrical copper wire
plastic tube
= 0.25 mm
pinch
cylindrical valve Fig. 3. Conductivity probe head assembly (not to scale).
rubber

Fig. 2. The gas hold-up device: capturing probe (JK sensor). laboratory at Highett, Victoria, and was modied at the
JKMRC during the experimental measurement. It con-
sisted of a needle and support arm. The needle had two
3.2.2. Conductivity probe (CSIRO sensor) electrodes at the tip. The probe was connected to an in-
The conductivity (or resistivity) probe, shown in Fig. 3, house AC oscillator developed at CSIRO that powers the
was developed at CSIRO Thermal and Fluids Engineering probe and supplies an output signal.
E. Sanwani et al. / Minerals Engineering 19 (2006) 13621372 1365

The principle of measurement was based on the dier- D


ence in electrical resistance between air and water. When
the probe was submerged in water, the voltage between 15 6 71.5
the two electrodes was very low due to the low resistance 24

of water. In the otation cell, the probe was submerged


in aerated pulp in a vertical position. When a bubble was 12 5
40.5
passing, the probe tip was suspended in air and a high volt- 21

age was read due to the high resistance (Fig. 4). Over a per-
iod of sampling, the ratio of the total time when voltage 4
9 16.5
was high to the total sampling duration was interpreted 18
as the gas hold-up, i.e., B
14 11 0.0
8 17 20 23
X
in
Ti
eg 2 -16.5
7 3 16
i1
T total
During the measurements in the 3 m3 cell, the signal -40.5
10 2 19
from the probe was logged into a PC via a National Instru-
ment data acquisition board. Labview-based software was
used to count the bubble numbers and calculate the gas 13 1
22
-71.5
hold-up value.
-71.5 -40.5 -16.5 0.0 16.5 40.5 71.5
C (cm)
3.3. Experimental program A

Gas hold-up (eg) was measured using both the capturing Fig. 5. Points of measurement at each horizontal level.
and conductivity probes in a two-phase system of waterair
with Dowfroth 250 as a frother. The measurements of eg
were taken at many dierent points in the cell at the follow-
ing operating conditions:
95
frother dosage: 10 ppm
impeller speed: 255 rpm
air ow rate: 950 l/min
70

The points at which measurements were made in the cell


are depicted in detail in Figs. 5 and 6. Measurements were
made at 104 dierent locations at ve horizontal levels 45
using conductivity probe. These were 20 and 30 cm (16
measurement points each), and 45, 70, and 95 cm (24 mea- 30
surement point each) from the bottom of the cell, respec-
tively. Due to the size of capturing probe, measurements 20
using this probe were made at only 64 dierent locations
at three horizontal levels. These were 20 cm (16 measure-
ment points), and 45 and 70 cm (24 measurement points -71.5 -40.5 -16.5 0.0 16.5 40.5 71.5 (cm)
each, respectively) from the bottom of the cell, respectively.
The sampling period of the measurements were about Fig. 6. Points of measurement in the vertical plane and liquid ow
10 s using capturing probe and 30 s using conductivity patterns (circles show the locations of measurement using both capturing
and conductivity probes while stars show the ones using conductivity
probe allowing around 1000 bubbles passing the probe probe only).

tip. A sampling period of 10 s is enough time for the mea-


T1 T2 T3 Ti Tn
Gas surement using capturing probe, after 10 s it does not give
any eects on the results of the measurement. For con-
ductivity probe, it is needed a longer sampling period
Liquid i.e. 30 s to have a stable result of the measurement. After
T total 30 s the reading of gas hold-up is relatively constant. At
Fig. 4. Schematic drawing of the conductivity probe signal. A low voltage each measuring locations, the measurement of gas hold-
indicates the probe is submerged in the water whereas a high voltage up using both the capturing and conductivity techniques
reects the presence of air bubbles. were repeated at least ve times, respectively, and the
1366 E. Sanwani et al. / Minerals Engineering 19 (2006) 13621372

Table 1
Reproducibility of gas hold-up measurement at some dierent locations in the cell by capturing probe
Measurement location Gas hold-up (%) Standard deviation
Run 1 Run 2 Run 3 Run 4 Run 5 Average
Level 20, position 19 6.15 5.87 6.42 6.42 5.87 6.15 0.28
Level 45, position 14 7.82 7.54 6.42 6.98 6.42 7.04 0.64
Level 70, position 3 8.38 8.38 7.82 8.10 8.66 8.27 0.32

Table 2
Reproducibility of gas hold-up measurement at some dierent locations in the cell by conductivity probe
Measurement location Gas hold-up (%) Standard deviation
Run 1 Run 2 Run 3 Run 4 Run 5 Average
Level 20, position 19 5.70 6.31 6.26 6.94 5.93 6.23 0.47
Level 30, position 6 10.29 10.95 10.06 10.65 10.70 10.53 0.35
Level 45, position 14 6.55 7.90 7.11 7.57 7.47 7.32 0.51
Level 70, position 3 7.94 8.23 7.92 8.04 8.45 8.12 0.22
Level 95, position 1 9.33 9.31 9.71 9.27 8.90 9.30 0.29

average was considered as the gas hold-up value at that is composed of three principal regions, viz. the circulation
location. region above the impeller (quiescent zone), the circulation
region below it (turbulent zone-1), and the impeller dis-
3.4. Reproducibility charge stream (turbulent zone-2). This ow pattern was
observed visually from top, side, and bottom views of the
An important measure of any experiments is the repro- glass cell when the cell was running (under gas sparging
ducibility of the results. Tables 1 and 2 show the results of or with liquid only). Measurement of ow pattern in a
the reproducibility tests carried out with capturing and 0.95 m3 cylindrical Outokumpu otation cell in a single-
conductivity techniques respectively, for some locations phase of liquid system using a TSI 2D optical bre LDV
of measurement. Five measurements were made at each system by Zhu et al. (2004) conrmed this observation.
of measurement locations in the cell, and the average and In the circulation region above the impeller (above the
standard deviation of each location were calculated. The level of 35 cm), it can be seen that the gas hold-up values
standard deviation at each location of measurement is an resulting from the two measurement techniques are rela-
indication of how widely the value of gas hold-up spread tively similar except at some points e.g. at the level of
over the mean value at that location. The reproducibility 45 cm and about half-way between the impeller shaft and
of the eg measurements by capturing and conductivity tech- the wall, and at some points in the corners of the cell.
niques was found to be very good for both of them. At all In the corner region, it is harder to circulate the bub-
measurement locations, the standard deviations were bles, and consequently there is a sharp decrease of gas
mostly around the overall average of 0.51 and 0.46 for cap- hold-up as the corner is neared. In this region, the point
turing and conductivity techniques respectively, which are measurement from the conductivity probe will be dierent
very good. from that obtained using the capturing technique since the
latter technique has a capturing area diameter of 50 mm,
much larger than the conductivity probe tip, and is there-
4. Results and discussions fore less sensitive to changes occurring over a small
distance, i.e. the gas hold-up value is averaged over the
4.1. Comparison of the two techniques whole area.
In the impeller discharge stream (about at the level of
The results of measurements using capturing and con- 30 cm), the gas hold-up measured by conductivity probe
ductivity probes are presented in Figs. 7 and 8 as local gas are greater than in any other regions in the otation cell.
hold-up maps. At the level of 95 cm from the bottom of In this region, the radial velocity of the liquid is very high
the cell (near the surface), measurements were only taken resulting in a very high bubble passages frequency and,
using conductivity probe due to the size of capturing probe. consequently, a very high gas hold-up. The gas hold-up
Measurement using capturing probe were only able to be reduces considerably away from the impeller, as reected
taken up to the level of 70 cm from the bottom of the cell. in the conductivity probe data at z = 30 cm and both mea-
The gas hold-up maps of Figs. 7 and 8 show that eg var- surements at z = 20 cm. This decrease is not surprising, as
ies widely inside the otation cell. The ow eld in the cell (ignoring jet stream dispersion and recirculation of gas
E. Sanwani et al. / Minerals Engineering 19 (2006) 13621372 1367

5.70 8.49 5.81 5.70 6.31 5.75


11.28 8.91 6.21 11.11 10.23 8.84

8.66 8.44 8.60 7.65 7.99 8.04


8.44 8.30 8.79 3.32 3.59 5.10

8.44 8.88 8.66 7.65 8.21 7.71


8.24 7.47 6.64 8.50 8.43 5.06

7.88 8.55 8.10 8.10 7.32 7.04 8.66 7.99 7.77


7.85 8.38 8.34 7.14 6.74 6.38 7.32 7.77 5.61 6.96 7.88 7.04
7.17 8.77 8.27 8.38 2.95 8.60 7.82 7.60 3.48
7.48 8.12 7.96 5.61 6.83 6.13

7.82 8.49 7.77 7.71 7.82 7.82


8.44 7.83 7.67 3.50 3.26 4.36

5.59 8.49 5.98 5.53 6.70 5.87


10.60 7.43 5.92 10.00 8.25 7.11

(a) (b)

__-___ ___-___ __-___


5.18 7.38 5.03
5.64 9.58 10.53 8.62
4.27 2.83

___-___ ___-___ ___-___


7.04 6.42 5.98
12.64 14.61 11.03
5.24 8.08 4.94

___-___ __-___
7.07 6.09 6.03
11.32 8.64
4.94 6.03 7.71 5.05 ___-___ ___-___

9.51 14.07 13.94

___-___ ___-___ ___-___


6.76 6.42 6.15
11.43 13.63 11.57
5.39 7.92 6.23

5.08 7.06 5.08 __-___ __-___ __-___


2.44 4.72 1.95 8.40 9.70 6.93

(c) (d)

___-___ __-___ __-___


10.87 8.71 7.01

___-___ __-___ __-___


10.29 9.67 9.18

__-___ __-___ __-___


9.43 8.57 7.66
__-___ __-___ __-___ __-___
6.72 8.70 9.01 __-___
7.43
___-___
10.29 9.10
__-___ __-___ __-___
8.70 9.54 8.77

___-___ __-___ __-___


10.37 9.13 9.22

___-___ ___-___ __-___


10.34 9.30 6.89

(e)

Fig. 7. eg (%) values at dierent horizontal level of measurements from the bottom of the cell (italicsmeasured by capturing probe; normalmeasured
by conductivity probe): (a) level of z = 70 cm; (b) level of z = 45 cm; (c) level of z = 20 cm; (d) level of z = 30 cm; (e) level of z = 95 cm.

bubbles into the jet stream) mass conservation requires that from shaft axis). The magnitude of the gas hold-up data is
the gas hold-up should be the function of 1/r (r is the radius in reasonably agreement with the trend.
1368 E. Sanwani et al. / Minerals Engineering 19 (2006) 13621372

_-__ _-__ _-__ _-__ _-__ _-__ _-__ _-__ _-__ _-__ __-__ _-__
8.71 9.67 8.57 9.54 9.13 9.30 7.43 9.10 9.01 8.70 10.29 6.72

8.49 8.44 8.88 8.27 8.49 8.49 7.32 8.10 8.10 8.55 8.38 7.88
8.91 8.30 7.47 8.12 7.83 7.43 6.38 6.74 7.14 8.34 7.17 7.85

6.31 7.99 8.21 7.82 7.82 6.70 7.07 7.88 7.99 8.66 7.77 7.04
10.23 3.59 8.43 6.83 3.26 8.25 7.04 3.48 6.96 5.61 2.95 7.32

__-__ __-__ __-__ _-__ _-__ __-__ __-__ __-__


10.53 14.61 13.63 9.70 8.64 13.94 14.07 11.32

7.38 6.42 6.42 7.60 6.03 6.09 6.03 7.77


5.64 8.08 7.92 4.72 5.05 7.71 9.51 4.94

(a) (b)

_-__ _-__ _-__ _-__ __-__ __-__ __-__ __-__ _-__ _-__ _-__ _-__
7.01 9.18 7.66 8.70 10.37 10.34 10.87 10.29 9.43 8.77 9.22 6.89

5.81 8.60 8.66 8.77 7.82 5.59 5.70 8.66 8.44 8.38 7.77 5.98
6.21 8.79 6.64 7.48 8.44 10.00 11.28 8.44 8.24 7.96 7.67 5.92

5.75 8.04 7.71 8.60 7.71 _5.53 5.70 7.65 7.65 7.60 7.82 5.87
8.84 5.10 5.06 5.61 3.50 10.00 11.11 3.32 8.50 6.13 4.36 7.11

_-__ __-__ __-__ _-__ _-__ __-__ __-__ _-__


8.62 11.03 11.43 8.40 9.58 12.64 11.57 6.93

5.03 5.98 6.76 5.08 5.18 7.04 6.15 5.08


2.83 4.94 5.39 2.44 4.27 5.24 6.23 1.95

(c) (d)

Fig. 8. Distribution of eg (%) values at vertical plane of measurements (italicsmeasured by capturing probe; normalmeasured by conductivity probe):
(a) vertical plane A; (b) vertical plane B; (c) vertical plane C; (d) vertical plane D.

Near the wall, the gas ows upwards with the circulating the capturing probe due to the relative size of the probes.
liquid at high velocities, whereas near the impeller shaft the The detector of the conductivity probe is very small, with
buoyancy of the gas acts in an opposite direction to the diameter of 0.25 mm, whereas the diameter of capturing
downward owing uid. At the level of 45 cm and about tube is about 50 mm and 200 mm in high. Therefore, the
half-way between the wall and the impeller shaft, gas conductivity probe can detect a rapid change of gas hold-
hold-up measured by capturing probe is always bigger than up over a very small distance or, in other words, conductiv-
that measured by conductivity by about 23 fold, and this ity probe is more sensitive than capturing probe. Where the
phenomenon is consistent at every quadrant of the otation gas hold-up is uniform over a large volume, the results of
cell. This location is believed to be the location of a vortex the two techniques are comparable.
where liquid and gas velocities are very low resulting in very The conductivity probe is easier to handle than the cap-
low gas hold-up. This vortex is not able to be detected using turing probe, and to move from one point to another than
the capturing probe due to the size of the probe, since the capturing probe. It can also be operated on line. In addi-
vortex occupy only a small volume inside the cell. tion, it can measure gas hold-up in more locations of mea-
In the circulating region in the lower part of the otation surement in a otation cell, even in the locations which are
cell, the hold-up measured by conductivity probe decreases very close to the pulp-froth interface.
consistently towards the wall, with very low values near the Gas hold-up measurements using the two techniques
wall, in general, especially at the corners of the cell. These were only made in a two phase airwater system. While
locations are probably the locations of a second vortex of the capturing probe has been used widely in the real
the circulating loop. three phase system on industrial otation plants (Zheng,
In general, it can be said that the measurement of gas 2000; Power et al., 2000; Sanwani, 2003), the conductivity
hold-up using conductivity probe is more localized than probe needs to be tested in these systems. Because the con-
E. Sanwani et al. / Minerals Engineering 19 (2006) 13621372 1369

100 100
Diagonal #1
90 90 Diagonal #2
Corner #1

Vertical Position (Cm)


80 Diagonal #3
80 Corner #2

Vertical Position (Cm)


Diagonal #4
Corner #3
70 70
Corner #4
60 60
#3 #4
50 50

40 40
#1 #2
#3 #4
30 30

20 #1 #2
20

10 10

0 0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Gas Hold up (%) Gas Hold up (%)
(a) (b)
100

90 Diagonal #1
Diagonal #2
Vertical Position (Cm)

80 Diagonal #3
Diagonal #4
70

60

50

40
30
#3 #4
20 #1 #2

10

0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Gas Hold up (%)
(c)

Fig. 9. Vertical proles of gas hold-up at the diagonal positions: (a) outer or corner, (b) middle, and (c) inner (see inset).

100 100

90 90 Side #1
Side #1
Side #2
Vertical Position (Cm)

80 Side #2 80
Vertical Position (Cm)

Side #3
Side #3
70 Side #4
70 Side #4

60 60

50 #3 50
#4 #2 40
40

30 #1 30
#3
20 20 #4 #2
#1
10 10

0 0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Gas Hold up (%) Gas Hold up (%)
(a) (b)
100
90
Vertical Position (Cm)

80
70 Side #1
Side #2
60
Side #3
50 Side #4

40
30 #3
#4 #2
20 #1

10
0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Gas Hold up (%)
(c)

Fig. 10. Vertical proles of gas hold-up at the side positions: (a) outer, (b) middle, and (c) inner (see inset).

ductivity probe is principally based on bubble passed fre- itself, the eect of solid particles on the tip of the probe
quency, and does not directly measure the gas hold-up during the measurement needs to be investigated.
1370 E. Sanwani et al. / Minerals Engineering 19 (2006) 13621372

4.2. Proles of gas hold-up where left side shows bigger values of gas hold-up than
right side, and at the side near the wall (Fig. 9b) where
In order to make easier in reading and understanding the proles at each quadrant are slightly dierent. These
the proles of gas hold-up in a mechanical otation cell, anomalies are dicult to explain. Maybe the condition or
the data that have been shown in Figs. 7 and 8 are pre- position of the probe tip against the impeller during the
sented in the form of graphics as will be shown below. measurement at the corner and near the wall can cause
The proles shown here are the data of gas hold-up mea- the dierent, especially at the corner.
surement carried out using conductivity probe. This is The gas hold-up at the location near the bottom (at
because the measurement was carried out in the more loca- 20 cm from the bottom of the otation cell) is very low.
tions in the cell than using capturing techniques. This shows that only little gas exist in this region. At
30 cm from the bottom, the gas hold-up increases rapidly.
4.2.1. Vertical proles In this region, the gas hold-up reaches highest values. As
The vertical proles of gas hold-up are presented graph- explained earlier in the previous section, the radial velocity
ically as shown in Figs. 9 and 10. Fig. 9 shows the vertical of the liquid is very high resulting in a very high bubble
proles of gas hold-up at the diagonal positions, while passages frequency, and, consequently, a very high gas
Fig. 10 shows the proles at the side positions. As can be hold-up. It is expected that maybe attachment between par-
seen from Figs. 9 and 10, the proles at each quadrant ticles and bubbles take place more intense in this region
are generally comparable except at the corner (Fig. 9a) than others.

16 16
Diagonal #1
#1 #3
14 Diagonal #2 #4
14
Gas Hold up (%)

Side #3 #2
Gas Hold up (%)

12 12
Side #4

10 10

8 8

6 6 Diagonal #1 #1 #3
Diagonal #2 #4
4 4 Side #3 #2
Side #4
2 2

0 0
-1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1
Radial Position Radial Position
(a) (b)
16 16

Diagonal #1 Diagonal #1
14 #1 #3 14 #1 #3
Diagonal #2 Diagonal #2 #4
Gas Hold up (%)

#4
Gas Hold up (%)

Side #3 12 Side #3 #2
12 #2
Side #4 Side #4
10 10

8 8

6 6

4 4

2 2

0 0
-1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1
Radial Position Radial Position
(c) (d)
16

14

12
Gas Hold up (%)

10

6 Diagonal #1 #1 #3
Diagonal #2 #4
4 Side #3 #2
Side #4
2

0
-1 -0.5 0 0.5 1
Radial Position
(e)

Fig. 11. Horizontal proles of gas hold-up: (a) 20 cm, (b) 30 cm, (c) 45 cm, (d) 70 cm, and (e) 95 cm from the bottom of the otation cell (see inset).
E. Sanwani et al. / Minerals Engineering 19 (2006) 13621372 1371

At the location of 45 cm from the bottom (right above regions in the otation cell. The values decrease with dis-
the impeller) and about halfway between the impeller and tance away from the impeller.
the wall, the gas hold-up shows a very low in value. It is The conductivity probe has a number of advantages
very clear that this location is believed to be the location compared to the capturing probe as follows:
of a vortex. The possibility of attachment between particles
and bubbles is expected to be very low in this location. As it can be operated on line
the surface of the otation cell is neared, the gas hold-up it is easier to handle
increases gradually toward the surface. it can detect a rapid change of local gas hold-up over a
very small distance (more sensitive)
4.2.2. Horizontal proles it can be used to measure the gas hold-up in more loca-
The horizontal proles of gas hold-up at various dis- tion in the otation cell, even those close to the pulp-
tance (20 cm, 30 cm, 45 cm, 70 cm, and 95 cm) from the froth interface
bottom of the otation cell are presented graphically in
Fig. 11. As can be seen from this gure, the proles at each However, the conductivity probe has been used only in a
level are dierent. At the levels 20 cm and 30 cm, the pro- two-phase system of airwater and still needs to be tested
les are similar but the magnitudes are very dierent. At in real three-phase otation systems.
the level 20 cm, the gas hold-up is quite low and this is The proles of gas hold-up both vertically and horizon-
an indication that only little gas exist in this region. On tally are also presented graphically. In general, the proles
the other hand, the highest values of gas hold-up are show similar trend at each quadrant, except at some loca-
reached at the level of 30 cm (impeller discharge region). tion where anomalies found. Vertically, the proles show
This region is rich in air and is expected to have highest similar trends from the bottom of the otation cell toward
possibility of attachment between particles and bubbles. the surface but with dierent magnitudes depending on the
At the level 45 cm from the bottom of the otation cell distance from the impeller. On the other hand, the horizon-
(right above the impeller), the proles are not the same hor- tal proles show a dierent trend at each level from the
izontally. It can be seen from Fig. 11c, the lowest gas hold- bottom of the cell.
up is at the location about the halfway of distance between
the impeller and the wall. Once again, this location is the
Acknowledgements
location of vortex where liquid and gas velocities are very
low resulting in very low gas hold-up.
The authors would like to thank the JKMRC pilot plant
At the level 70 cm and 95 cm from the bottom of the o-
sta, especially Bob Marshall, Mick Kilmartin, Leo
tation cell (above the impeller and close to the surface), the
Koeleman, and Jon Worth for their help during the con-
proles of gas hold-up are similar. The gas hold-up at these
struction of the 3 m3 cell and during the test work, and
levels are relatively uniform, except at some locations in the
the JKMRC instrumentation laboratory sta, Graham
corners. The magnitudes are also not too dierent between
Sheridan and Kurt Russel, and Bon Nguyen of CSIRO
these two levels with the values increase slightly toward the
for their help in commissioning the conductivity probe.
surface of the otation cell.
Edy Sanwani would like to thank PT Freeport Indonesia
for nancial support of his doctoral studies, and the spon-
5. Conclusions sors of the AMIRA P9M project, without whom this work
would not has been possible.
Maps of local gas hold-up in a two phase airwater sys-
tem in a 3 m3 rectangular glass otation cell, measured by
capturing and conductivity probes, have been presented. References
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