Gabriel Felipe Aguilera, Juan Esteban Arismendy


The hydrocyclone is one of the most used classification equipment in industry, particularly in mineral processing. Maybe its main characteristic is to be a hydrodynamic separation equipment, whereby it has a high production capability and different levels of efficiency are depending on the geometrical configuration, operational parameters and the type of material to be processed. Nevertheless, there are a few successful studies regarding the modelling and simulation of its hydrodynamic principles, because the flow behavior inside is quite complex. Most of the current models are empirical and they are not applicable to all cases and types of minerals.
One of the most important problems to be solved, besides the cut size and the effect of the physical properties of the particles, is the distribution of the flow inside the hydrocyclone, because if the work of the equipment is at low slurry densities, very clear for small hydrocyclones, its mechanic behavior is a consequence of the kind of liquid used as continuous phase, being water the most common liquid.
This work shows the modelling and simulation of the hydrodynamic behavior of a suspension inside a hydrocyclone, including the air core effect, through the use of finite differences method. For the developing of the model, the Reynolds Stress Model (RSM) for the evaluation of turbulence, and the Volume of Fluid (VOF) to study the interaction between water and air were used. Finally, the model shows to be significant for experimental data, and for different conditions of an industrial plant.

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