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COMPUTATIONAL MODELLING IN MINERALS PROCESSING 08
Computational modelling is the use of fundamental physical equations to predict the behaviour of complex systems. Techniques include Discrete Element Modelling (DEM), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Methods (FEM). Due to rapid increases in computing power, it is now possible to carry out highly sophisticated and realistic simulations of scientific and engineering processes. Computational modelling has become an indispensable adjunct to the traditional modes of investigation via theory and experiment, and is increasingly viewed as ‘a peer methodology to experiment and theory’.
Computational modelling has been used in the mineral and metallurgical process industries to simulate charge motion in mills, mixing in flotation cells, heat transfer in furnaces and the kinetics of heap leaching. Computational modelling has been applied to improve mill liner design, compare flotation cell impellers, improve thickener performance and optimise furnace layout and geometry. Many of these applications have resulted in significant advances in equipment design and operation, at relatively low cost.
There is considerable scope to expand and enhance the use of computational methods in mineral and metallurgical processing. This has the potential to increase understanding of processes, improve the capability to simulate changes to equipment and circuit operation, guide equipment design and develop novel equipment and processes. The combination of existing computational techniques (e.g. DEM/CDF) and the development of comparatively new techniques (e.g. SPH) is beginning to show potential. Advanced measurements (e.g. tomography, PIV, LDV, PEPT) are required to validate the simulation results. Expanding the simulations to combine separate parts of a single unit operation (e.g. pulp & froth zones in flotation cells), multiple unit operations (e.g. mills & cyclones) and complete minerals 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 the mineral and metallurgical process industries. The current status and latest developments in all these areas of computational modelling, as applied to this industry, were presented.
"I enjoyed the conference [Computational Modelling 05]; it brought together some of the key players in DEM and CFD in mineral processing and gave me a good opportunity to bring the capability of our particle mechanics simulation software to their attention."
Click here to view the conference report, programme and delegate list from Computational Modelling 05:
"The conference [Computational Modelling 05] was very informative and provided me with an opportunity to interact with the experts in this growing field of mineral processing."
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