A methodology for modelling dense medium cyclones is presented for cyclones operating under conditions which avoid particle interference or apex crowding. Particle interference and apex crowding are shown to result in less efficient separations and represent undesirable regimes of dense medium cyclone operation. In order to avoid apex crowding, suitable medium to ore ratios and apex diameters should be used. Cyclone density differentials should be kept below approximately 400kg.m 3 to limit loss of efficiency due to excessive particle recirculation within the cyclone. The relationship between size-by-size partition curves shows that the flow split and density of the medium within a cyclone can be related to two new parameters, the pivot partition number and pivot density. The parameters are common to each partition curve in any set of size-by-size data and are mathematically related to the familiar performance characteristics, ecart probable (Ep) and separation density. The resulting expression confirms that the Ep and separation density are directly related.