Digital visual simulation for design of mineral and metal recycling processes and of secondary products

Richard A Williams, Xiaodong Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The paper presents an overview of a digital approach to enable prediction of the behaviour of complex multi-component three-dimensional components in separation or assembly processes. By digitising the form of individual objects, systems properties (flow, packing, separation) can be simulated to enable optimisation of design of the recycling process. Visual libraries of the components can be established either by direct video capture and suitable three-dimensional transcription or through use of computer aided drawings or some other digital media method. Once in a voxelated format, these component objects can be used within a computational environment in which the real space is divided into a dense array of voxels and in which the simulation (referred to as DigiPac) is performed in a wholly digital environment. A virtue of the method is that properties can be assigned explicitly to individual objects or voxels comprising the object. Further the computational time is reduced, since the entire simulation space is in a digital format. Two hypothetical examples are used to illustrate application of the methods for: flow and separation of ore components employing a digital discrete element method; and the assembly of new products from materials pieces and chards to create a new functional entity. Reverse engineering of such approaches to enable more predictive emulation of processing scenarios for a given user-defined objective is considered. Such methods offer a means of performing realistic calculations on objects that have hitherto been considered too complex to represent. It is believed therefore that the method offer significant technical advantages to those working in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-938
Number of pages6
JournalMinerals Engineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • Arbitrary shapes
  • Particle packing
  • Recycling
  • Secondary products
  • Structure-property relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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