The 12th International Conference on Fluidization - New Horizons in Fluidization Engineering


The articles for these proceedings are peer-reviewed.

Conference Dates

May 13-17, 2007


One of the most prominent features of fluidized beds is their ability to mix and segregate. This is of great importance for many industrial processes, but takes on a particular significance for mineral extraction where a small amount of valuable matter is mixed with a large amount of waste. In this study we consider the occurrence of diamonds in the volcanic rock called “kimberlite”. These are often emplaced (erupted and deposited) in large volcanic pipes commonly referred to as “diatremes” (length scale of the order of a kilometre) with a vent at the bottom through which the minerals were introduced along with other fragmental particulate matter and a gas flow. The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of the processes that led to the dispersal of minerals before their emplacement to allow efficient extraction. The paper describes experimental observations of a tapered fluidized bed. The objective was to identify the physical behaviour of gas and particles; so, of particular interest are the extent to which fluidization takes place within the bed, and the arrangements of particles seen. Gas flow-rate, particle size, and degree of taper were all varied. These observations can be used to identify the structures and processes that can take place; it is then possible to understand field data in terms of the physics that led to the emplacement of material. This will be shown using new data taken from southern Africa. Scale-up of evidence is of obvious difficulty in this system and this is discussed in terms of the possible behaviour of the bubbles that have generated mixing of material before emplacement.