University of Oulu

Leiva, C., Acuña, C., Bergh, L., Luukkanen, S., & Da Silva, C. (2022). Online superficial gas velocity, holdup, and froth depth sensor for flotation cells. Journal of Sensors, 2022, 7221294, 1–12.

Online superficial gas velocity, holdup, and froth depth sensor for flotation cells

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Author: Leiva, Claudio1,2; Acuña, Claudio3; Bergh, Luis3;
Organizations: 1Oulu Mining School, University of Oulu, 90570 Oulu, Finland
2Department of Chemical Engineering, Universidad Católica del Norte, 1270709 Antofagasta, Chile
3Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, 2390123 Valparaíso, Chile
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Hindawi, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-07-05


In flotation process, the efficiency and selectivity depend on mineralogy, particle size distribution and liberation, reagents added, mixing, and particle coverage. However, the kinetics of particle recovery is highly dependent on cell hydrodynamic and circuit configuration and operational strategy. Controlling froth depth and gas flow rate, measured as superficial gas velocity, is a straightforward alternative related to kinetics in the froth and collection zones. However, these parameters are not measured accurately. Froth depth measurement is based on a floating device coupled with a sonic sensor; this configuration presents hysteresis and deviation due to variation in the gas holdup and pulp density. In self-aspirated machines, there is no technology to measure gas velocity. To address this problem, the intelligent online gas dispersion sensor based on two concentric HDPE cylindres is proposed. The intelligent online gas dispersion sensor is based on two concentric HDPE cylinders. The methodology improves the accuracy of gas velocity calculation with a new algorithm. Froth depth measurement is based on two pressure transducers, reducing the uncertainty of the floating sonic sensor to 1 cm. Pulp bulk density is directly measured, and gas holdup can be estimated. Experimental results and industrial device validation indicate that the new intelligent system can measure superficial gas velocity (Jg) online and self-calibrate, with a 2% error, the froth depth error being ±1 cm. Therefore, a multiparameter sensor for measuring gas dispersion in industrial flotation cells was experimentally designed and validated in an industrial environment (TRL 8). In this context, the proposed online gas dispersion sensor emerges as a robust technology to improve the operation of the flotation process.

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Series: Journal of sensors
ISSN: 1687-725X
ISSN-E: 1687-7268
ISSN-L: 1687-725X
Volume: 2022
Article number: 7221294
DOI: 10.1155/2022/7221294
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 222 Other engineering and technologies
Funding: This study received external funding from INNOVA CORFO 17-CONTEC-78906: “Desarrollo Tecnológico para la medición en línea de velocidad superficial de gas en celdas de flotación.” The authors wish to acknowledge the material support provided by Minera Don Alberto and the financial support from 545-VRIDT-UCN provided by the Universidad Católica del Norte.
Copyright information: © 2022 Claudio Leiva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.