The feasibility of predicting the behaviour of aqueous dispersions of fine particles of magnetic minerals by direct computation of the Brownian, van der Waals, Born, electrical double layer and magnetic forces acting on each particle employing an advanced supercomputer is described. In this manner it is possible to estimate the extent of magnetic flocculation and the size and geometry of the flocs formed as a function of key process variables (particle size, solids concentration, magnetic field strength, ionic composition of electrolyte, temperature, etc.). Such data are of significance to processes involving magnetic mineral colloids, ferromagnetic dense media, and mineral separation methods based on magnetic tagging. The methodology used represents an example of the type of calculations that have been facilitated by the recent developments in high speed computing technology. The notion of using these tools to enable realistic modelling of complex particulate and mineral processes is analogous to the use of molecular modelling in the field of drug design. Future applications and developments of these techniques are discussed and it is envisaged that in due course they will radically transform the modelling and design procedures used for mineral and metallurgical processes.
Williams, R. A., & Jia, X. (1991). Simulation of magnetic flocculation behaviour of fine minerals. International Journal of Mineral Processing, 32(3-4), 175-191. https://doi.org/10.1016/0301-7516(91)90067-S