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dc.contributor.authorJones, Alan Wayne IIIen
dc.date.accessioned2019-04-20T08:00:33Zen
dc.date.available2019-04-20T08:00:33Zen
dc.date.issued2019-04-19en
dc.identifier.othervt_gsexam:19023en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/89067en
dc.description.abstractFroth flotation has long been regarded as the best available technology for ultrafine particles separation. However, froth flotation has extreme deficiencies for recovering ultrafine particles that are less than 30-50 μm in size for coal and 10-20 μm for minerals. Furthermore, dewatering of flotation products is difficult and costly using currently available technologies. Due to these problems, coal and mineral fines are either lost to tailings streams inadvertently or discarded purposely prior to flotation. In light of this, researchers at Virginia Tech have developed a process called hydrophobic-hydrophilic separation (HHS), which is based originally on a concept known as dewatering by displacement (DbD). The process uses non-polar solvents (usually short-chain alkanes) to selectively displace water from particle surfaces and to agglomerate fine coal particles. The resulting agglomerates are subsequently broken (or destabilized) mechanically in the next stage of the process, whereby hydrophobic particles are dispersed in the oil phase and water droplets entrapped within the agglomerates coalesce and exit by gravity along with the hydrophilic particles dispersed in them. In the present work, further laboratory-scale tests have been conducted on various coal samples with the objective of commercial deployment of the HHS process. Test work has also been conducted to explore the possibility of using this process for the recovery of ultrafine minerals such as copper and rare earth minerals. Ultrafine streams produced less than 10% ash and moisture consistently, while coarse coal feed had no observable degradation to the HHS process. Middling coal samples were upgraded to high-value coal products when micronized by grinding. All coal samples performed better with the HHS process than with flotation in terms of separation efficiency. High-grade rare earth mineral concentrates were produced with the HHS process ranging from 600-2100 ppm of total rare earth elements, depending on the method and reagent. Additionally, the HHS process produced copper concentrates assaying greater than 30% Cu for both artificial and real feed samples, as well as, between 10-20% Cu for waste samples, which all performed better than flotation.en
dc.format.mediumETDen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.rights.urihttp://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/en
dc.subjectHydrophobic-Hydrophilic Separationen
dc.subjectOil Agglomerationen
dc.subjectRare Earth Elementsen
dc.subjectUltrafine Coalen
dc.subjectFine Copperen
dc.titleAdvancement of the Hydrophobic-Hydrophilic Separation Processen
dc.typeThesisen
dc.contributor.departmentMining Engineeringen
dc.description.degreeMaster of Scienceen
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Scienceen
thesis.degree.levelmastersen
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen
thesis.degree.disciplineMining Engineeringen
dc.contributor.committeechairLuttrell, Gerald H.en
dc.contributor.committeechairYoon, Roe H.en
dc.contributor.committeememberNoble, Christopher Aaronen
dc.description.abstractgeneralFroth flotation has long been regarded as the best available technology for separating fine particles. Due to limitations in particle size with froth flotation, and high downstream dewatering costs, a new process has been developed called the hydrophobic-hydrophilic separation (HHS) process. This process was originally based on a concept known as dewatering by displacement (DbD) which was developed by researchers at Virginia Tech in 1995. The process uses hydrocarbon oils, like pentane or heptane, to selectively collect hydrophobic particles, such as coal, for which it was originally developed. In coal preparation plants, a common practice is to purposefully discard the ultrafine stream that flotation cannot recover and has an increased dewatering cost. The HHS process can effectively recovery this waste stream and produce highgrade salable product, with significantly reduced cost of dewatering. In the work presented, laboratory-scale tests have been conducted on various coal samples with the objective of commercial deployment of the HHS process. In this respect, several varying plant streams have been tested apart from the traditional discard stream. Additionally, test work has expanded into mineral commodities such as copper and rare earth minerals. In this work, salable high-value coal products were achievable with the HHS process. Ultrafine streams consistently produced less than 10% ash and moisture. Coarse coal feeds had no observable degradation to the HHS process and were able to produce single digit ash and moisture values. Middling coal samples were upgraded to high-value coal products when micronized by grinding. All coal samples performed better with the HHS process than with flotation in terms of separation efficiency. High-grade rare earth mineral concentrates were produced with the HHS process ranging from 600- 2100 ppm of total rare earth elements depending on the method and reagent. Additionally, the HHS process produced copper concentrates assaying greater than 30% Cu for an artificial and feed samples, as well as, between 10-20% Cu for waste samples, which all performed better than flotation.en


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