Current trends into mining iron ore have seen an increase in the exploitation of problematic orebodies that would typically be disregarded. These bulk materials cause problems within all facets of the material handling stream, from remains left in train wagons to transfer chute blockages, which can cause costly downtime to mining operations (Roberts, 1998). These problematic bulk materials are referred to as wet and sticky material (WSM) due to the adhesive and cohesive nature they possess. Their characteristics can be computationally expensive to model. With the development of discrete element modelling (DEM), in conjunction with advancement in computational power over the past decade, it is now more feasible to model WSMs into the DEM technique.
This research will couple two different contact models that can represent the characteristics of a WSM. These models include the Simplified Johnson-Kendall-Roberts (SJKR) and the Easo liquid bridging contact models. The SJKR contact model is an expanded form of the classic Hertz model. This model includes the tensile forces that are in the contact zone between two bodies when they are separated, which the Hertz model failed to capture (Johnson, Kendall and Roberts, 1971). The Easo liquid bridging contact model accounts for the capillary effects and surface tension that will form between two bodies, such as that of a WSM (Soulié et al, 2006). Both of these models were coupled to give the best representation of a WSM, which was simulated using MoleculeX™ (Chen and Williams, 2017) as the software platform.
Additionally, this research also investigated the adhesion of problematic iron ore samples onto impact plates under dynamic conditions. An experimental set-up consisting of an apron feeder and inclined impact plate was utilised, to gain an understanding of the way the material builds-up and the possible modes of failure that could be experienced. This was undertaken for different wall liner materials, wall liner angles and moisture contents of the iron ore samples. From this, a series of DEM calibration simulations were conducted on the experimental set-up and particle size distributions (PSD) of the iron ore samples. This enabled forming of a database of parameters, which can be scaled for on-site applications in relation to geometry of the plant and PSDs that would represent run-of-mine ores.
Carr, M, Williams, K, Chen, W, Hayter, B, Roberts, A and Wheeler, C, 2017. The dynamic adhesion of wet and sticky iron ores onto impact plates, in Proceedings Iron Ore 2017, pp 511–518 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).