Rheological characteristics of mixed kaolin–sand slurry, impacts of pH, temperature, solid concentration and kaolin–sand mixing ratio
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Significant amount of slurry waste is produced from mineral processing plants globally constituting high levels of both kaolin and sand in aqueous suspension. Large quantities of slurry and mine tailings require efficient handling, transportation and storage system. The transportation and treatment of kaolin–sand slurry is dependent on its rheological behaviour which is a function of temperature, total solid concentration and pH. In this study, the effects of total solid concentration, pH and temperature on rheological behaviour of kaolin–sand mixture were investigated. These parameters were varied to analyse the viscosity, yield stress, flow index and shear force requirements of the mixed kaolin–sand suspension as a function of these varying parameters. Experimental rheological investigation conducted on rotational stress-controlled rheometer equipped with Peltier concentric cylinder system showed that the kaolin–sand mixture suspension is shear thickening in nature. The shear stress-rate rheograms for the kaolin–sand suspension can be modelled by the Herschel–Bulkley model with high levels of accuracy for pH range of 4–11, temperature range of 20–50 °C and solid concentration of 5–50 %. Solid concentration of the suspension was found to significantly affect the rheological behaviour of the mixture where higher kaolin–sand slurry concentration resulted in greater viscosity and the trend becoming less predictable for solid concentration greater than 50 % by weight. pH was another factor affecting the rheological behaviour of kaolin–sand slurry. pH of 3 or less resulted in the dramatic increase of viscosity of the suspension possibly due to the isoelectric point of the mixture system found between pH of 3 and 4.
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