Coal Preparation

Application of Computational Fluid Dynamics Modelling to Coal Flotation

Coal Preparation » Fine Coal

Published: May 11Project Number: C19040

Get ReportAuthor: Peter Koh | CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics

The work is an extension of a previous ACARP project C17038 in using the latest advances in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to improve understanding of the hydrodynamics in coal flotation, and to improve the design and operation of the Microcel columns and Jameson Cells in existing installations.


A total of 98 multi-phase flow simulations (for liquid, air and solids) have been performed for both types of flotation cell. Six design modifications for each type of cell, including the standard designs have been investigated with different operating conditions of solid density, feed rate and particle size. CFD simulation results consisted of velocity vectors, gas hold-up, turbulent energy dissipation rate, and particle-bubble attachment and detachment rates. Averaged results have also been obtained for the whole cell and at the pulp-froth interface for analysis.


For the Microcel column, the CFD results showed that turbulent energy dissipation rates are greatest near the sparger exits and near the pulp-froth interface because of the feed inlet flows and the presence of feed pipes and disperser plates. Modifications investigated for the Microcel were focused on the design of the feed points. From CFD results, the attachment rates were found to be generally high at the centre of the Microcel column as well as near the feed and sparger exits, while high detachment rates occurred mainly near the sparger exits where the turbulent energy dissipation rates are high.


For optimising flotation performance, the average attachment rates and froth detachment rates in six modifications of the Microcel have been analysed to find the modification that produces the maximum attachment rate and the minimum detachment rate. From this analysis, the Microcel modification with a larger feed pipe and a larger disperser disk with standard gap has been found to give the best compromise between attachment and detachment rates. The Microcel modification with reverse feed pipes performs badly due to the high turbulence produced by the reverse flow.


Hydrodynamic results for the Jameson Cell indicated that the general pattern of flow from the downcomer exit to the pulp-froth interface is around the diffuser plate with a small portion of flow through the diffuser plate. The problem of high gas hold-up beneath the inner launder in the standard Jameson Cell which was identified in previous work has not been observed in any of the six modifications investigated in this project.


The average attachment rates and froth detachment rates for six modifications of the Jameson Cell have been analysed to find the modification that produces the maximum attachment rate and the minimum detachment rate. From this analysis, Modification 2 which has a short baffle with standard downcomer configuration, and Modification 5 which has the same short baffle with a lower diffuser plate perform well having good compromise between attachment and detachment rates.


This work has demonstrated that CFD modelling is a cost effective means of developing an understanding of particle-bubble attachment and detachment, and can be used to identify and test potential cell or process modifications.



Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C19024Establishing Ecologically Sustainable Mine Water Release Criteria In Seasonally Flowing Streams

Extreme rainfall conditions in the Fitzroy Catchment over an approxi...

C25030Coal Mine Open Pit Final Void Closure And Relinquishment - Addressing Uncertainty In Coal Mine Environmental Planning

This report addresses uncertainties faced by coal mine operators whe...

C27046Estimation Of True Deformation Vector From Slope Radar Monitoring

Slope deformation radar monitors are now widely used in open cut coa...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C27004Improving Coal Flotation With Oscillatory Air Supply

This report provides detailed information on coal flotation with os...

C25018Improving Solids Recovery And Moisture Reduction In Ultrafine Coal Dewatering

This report provides detailed information on fine coal dewatering in...

C27028Lab Froth Flotation Testing Guide With Coal Quality

Correct outcomes from laboratory froth flotation testing in coal bor...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C26039Nanoporosity In Cokes: Their Origin, Control And Influence On CO2 Reactivity

This project using the outcomes of previous project C24060, examine...

C28063A Comprehensive Technical Review Of High-Efficiency Low-Emission (HELE) Pulverised Coal Combustion Technologies For Power Generation

Research and development has been undertaken worldwide to realise co...

C28064Carbon Structure Transformation During Coking Of Australian Coking Coals: Better Understanding The Coke Formation

Carbon structures of coke that are formed during the plastic layer a...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C28076Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids (SAMIL) - Phase 2 Demonstration In A Packed Bed Reactor

An alternative approach to high temperature oxidation of ventilation...

C26004CFD Modelling Of Reverse Thermal Oxidisers For VAM Abatement - CFD Modelling Of Fixed-Bed RTO Devices

The project is part of a larger multi‐phase program of study a...

C27058Technological Assessment Of A Recycle Reactor For VAM Abatement

Underground coal mining emits high volumes of methane, diluted in ve...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook