The effect of particle porosity on liquid holdup in heap leaching

Ilankoon, I.M.S.K., Neethling, S.J., Minerals Engineering 45, 73-80 , 2013

The inter- and intra-particle porosities of heaps have two distinct length scales (of order millim etres between the particles versus tens of microns within the particles) and therefore the dominant flow mechanisms within and around the particles are quite different. This paper investigates the effect of particle porosity on heap hydrodynamics by comparing the beh aviour of a model system consisting of non-porous glass beads with a system of actual ore particles. The overall liquid holdup beh aviour of these two systems initially appears quite different. However, when the effect of the liquid holdup around the particles is separated from that within the particles, the same theoretical flow model can be applied to both the model and ore systems. This demonstrates that correlating the liquid flow to the overall liquid holdup is problematic and that the effect of the inter- and intra-particle liquid holdup should be considered separately. This is important as the amount of liquid held within the ore particles in these experiments was nearly as large as that held around the particles. The model for the external liquid flow proposes a power law relationship between the relative flow rate (flow rate divided by residual holdup) and the excess relative holdup (the steady state liquid holdup divided by the residual holdup minus one) with an exponent of two. It was found that the pre-factor in this relationshi p was quite a strong function of particle size for the spherical glass beads, but relatively constant for the more angular ore particles .

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