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Development of an On-line Concentration Sensor for Slurry Flow Through Large Diameter Pipes

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In order to increase processing efficiency and reliability in the mining industry an on-line instrument is required to measure the particular concentration in slurry transport pipelines. Currently gamma densitometers are used for in-plant monitoring of slurry solids concentration. However, due to the potential hazards associated with using nuclear instruments, they are not used near the mining pit and dragline. There exists a strong demand from the mining industry to develop a non-nuclear, on-line instrument which measures slurry particulate concentration in real time. This report describes the development of a conductance based slurry particulate concentration sensor which is suitable for both large and small diameter horizontal slurry pipelines. The particulate concentration is measured by an array of electrodes mounted circumferentially around the sensor flow tube. The instrument signal is controlled and processed using a microprocessor. Extensive testing of the sensor has demonstrated that it is an accurate and reliable instrument for measuring slurry solids concentration. The sensor was tested in a tailings line at the Swift Creek Mine in North Florida and shows excellent agreement with a horizontally mounted on-line nuclear densitometer. The sensor was also tested in a matrix line at the Swift Creek Mine and shows good agreement with a vertically mounted nuclear densitometer. The design, fabrication, operating characteristics, and wear characteristics are discussed in detail.