Digital simulation of particulate processes

Richard A Williams*, Xiaodong Jia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The inherent complexity of mineral particulates (shape, size and mineralogical texture) has challenged conventional simulation model approaches for decades. Much effort was expedited in using mathematical assumptions to accommodate stereological effect. With the advance of instrumental methods such as x-ray microtomography 3D structure can, in many cases, be measured directly. The information derived from such measurements provides direct input to building the structural digital model. In addition digital simulation methods that enable creation of process realistic particulate properties in an effi cient digital computer space have demonstrated their effectiveness to model a variety of realistic packing, sorting and multi-phase processes. The paper reviews recent advances in the use of information derived from 3D micro-tomographic imaging and laser scanning technology can be coupled with digital methods to enable simulation of tablet compaction and dissolution, fi ltration and permeability, column packing and leaching kinetics, packing and cementation of nuclear waste. By assigning 'properties' to a digital zone (voxel) in the computational space it is possible to mimic the realistic characteristics of quite complex particulate mineral processing systems. The system self-adapts to correct the coherent particle characteristics (shape, size, compound, porosity) with time. Such simulations are useful to elucidate the sensitivity of system performance to variations in process parameters. Dimensional scaling of the approach is also possible, as the case studies will illustrate, in deploying the method to both small (micron) and large (m) features. The use of process realistic simulations presents experimental challenges in code validation. It is in this context that other tomographic methods play a role in direct 3D measurement of system behaviour such as electrical and optical sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationXXV International Mineral Processing Congress 2010
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event25th International Mineral Processing Congress 2010 - Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Duration: 6 Sept 201010 Sept 2010


Conference25th International Mineral Processing Congress 2010
Abbreviated titleIMPC 2010
CityBrisbane, QLD


  • Digital simulation
  • Dissolution
  • Microtomography
  • Nuclear waste
  • Packing
  • Shape
  • X-ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Geology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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