Solids transport in laminar, open channel flow of non-Newtonian slurries
Spelay, Ryan Brent
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Thickened tailings production and disposal continue to grow in importance in the mining industry. In particular, the transport of oil sands tailings is of interest in this study. These tailings must be in a homogeneous state (non-segregating) during pipeline flow and subsequent discharge. Tailings are often transported in an open channel or flume. Slurries containing both clay and coarse sand particles typically exhibit non-Newtonian rheological behaviour. The prediction of the flow behaviour of these slurries is complicated by the limited research activity in this area. As a result, the underlying mechanisms of solids transport in these slurries are not well understood. To address this deficiency, experimental studies were conducted with kaolin clay slurries containing coarse sand in an open circular channel. A numerical model has been developed to predict the behaviour of coarse solid particles in laminar, open channel, non-Newtonian flows. The model involves the simultaneous solution of the Navier-Stokes equations and a scalar concentration equation describing the behaviour of coarse particles within the flow. The model uses the theory of shear-induced particle diffusion (Phillips et al., 1992) to provide a number of relationships to describe the diffusive flux of coarse particles within laminar flows. A sedimentation flux has been developed and incorporated into the Phillips et al. (1992) model to account for gravitational flux of particles within the flow. Previous researchers (Gillies et al., 1999) have shown that this is a significant mechanism of particle migration. The momentum and concentration partial differential equations have been solved numerically by applying the finite volume method. The differential equations are non-linear, stiff and tightly coupled which requires a novel means of analysis. Specific no-flux, no-slip and no-shear boundary conditions have been applied to the channel walls and free surface to produce simulated velocity and concentration distributions. The results show that the model is capable of predicting coarse particle settling in laminar, non-Newtonian, open channel flows. The results of the numerical simulations have been compared to the experimental results obtained in this study, as well as the experimental results of previous studies in the literature.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorSumner, Robert J.; Gillies, Randall G.
CommitteeSanders, R. Sean; Phoenix, Aaron; Hill, Gordon A.; Bergstrom, Donald J.
open channel flow
coarse particle segregation
scalar transport equation
shear-induced particle diffusion
finite volume method