The function of a thickener is to optimise and accelerate the process of gravity sedimentation. The desired end product (be that maximised concentrated solids or clarified liquid) determines how the thickener is designed and operated.
Significant internal research, together with extensive on-site piloting, by Outotec has resulted in the determination that the application of the appropriate amount and type of shear to hindered settling aggregates can result in a substantial change to the sedimentation process. A new patented technology, called shear enhanced thickening (SET), has been developed. SET results in considerable design implications for full-scale thickeners, including a substantial reduction in required footprint and/or significant increases in underflow density.
The development of SET, combined with laboratory and pilot scale verification, will be discussed along with the introduction of this technology to a number of full-scale thickeners. The associated implications and benefits for industrial thickeners are outlined.
Lawler, N and Arburthnot, I, 2012. Industrial scale results from shear enhanced
thickening technology, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Mill Operators'
Conference, pp 341-346 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).