Spiral Concentrators

Spiral concentrators or separators are often used in the coal and mineral processing industries to separate slurry components. The separation is achieved on the basis of density and size differences existing between the particles.

The slurry is fed at the top of the separator and accelerated downwards due to the centrifugal force. The latter causes the larger and heavier particles to move towards the outer wall of the separator while the finer and lighter particles settle towards the center. Any evolution and optimization that has occurred in gravitational separators to-date has been achieved due to experimental investigation; current work at UCLA is underway to understand the theory behind the separation mechanism.

The objective of the project is to test theoretical models that describe the slurry dynamics in the spiral separator. To do this, we propose a series of experiments in a laboratory-scale helical separator to understand the physics of the flow. We will investigate the dynamics of the flow in the separator both in the case of particle-free and particle-laden scenarios. Further, in order to examine the re-suspension and settling of poly-disperse particles in the slurry more carefully, we will carry out flow experiments on an inclined plane. This isolates the particle from the fluid flow physics as the flow dynamics in a rectangular geometry have been well studied in the literature and are well understood.