Minerals & Metallurgical Processing

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 13–18 | Cite as

Simulated permeability of flocculated kaolinite sediments from X-ray tomographic images

  • J. Dong
  • C. L. Lin
  • J. D. MillerEmail author
Special Review Article


Nano clay mineral particles such as kaolinite — with primary particles typically smaller than 2 µm in size — can cause significant problems in flotation processes and tailings disposal, including the processing of Florida phosphate rock and Canadian oil sands. In this study, the consolidated state of flocculated kaolinite sediment was examined, and high-resolution X-ray microtomography (HRXMT) was applied to describe the structure of the consolidated sediment. Using this tomographic information, the complex geometry of the channel network structure for the consolidated flocs was established for the first time. With the establishment of the experimental channel network structure, permeabilities were estimated by flow simulation using the Lattice Boltzmann method. Results for kaolinite sediment with and without polymer are compared and discussed.

Results for flocculated kaolinite sediment in a gravitational field are also presented and discussed. The results show that as polymer dosage increases, the permeability of flocculated kaolinite sediment increases, and as suspension pH increases, the permeability of flocculated kaolinite sediment decreases.

Key words

Consolidation Permeability Kaolinite Flocculation X-ray microtomography Lattice Boltzmann Method 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arganda-Carreras, I., Kaynig, V., Schindelin, J., Cardona, A., and Seung, H.S., 2014, “Trainable Weka Segmentation: A machine learning tool for microscopy image segmentation,” Courses/2014.Google Scholar
  2. Bear, J., 1972, Dynamics of Fluids in Porous Media, Elsevier, New York, NY.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  3. Fine Tailings Fundamentals Consortium (FTFC), 1995, Advances in Oil Sands Tailings Research, Alberta Department of Energy, Oil Sands and Research Division.Google Scholar
  4. Gupta, V., and Miller, J.D., 2010, “Surface force measurements at the basal planes of ordered kaolinite particles,” Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol. 344, No. 2, pp. 362–371, doi:10.1016/j.jcis.2010.01.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kessick, M.A., 1979, “Structure and properties of oil sands clay tailings,” Journal Canadian Petroleum Technology, Vol. 18, pp. 49–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Lin, C.L., and Miller, J.D., 2004, “Pore structure analysis of particle beds for fluid transport simulation during filtration,” International Journal of Mineral Processing, Vol. 73, pp. 281–294, Scholar
  7. Lin, C.L., Videla, A.R., and Miller, J.D., 2010, “Advanced three-dimensional multiphase flow simulation in porous media reconstructed from X-ray Microtomography using the He–Chen–Zhang Lattice Boltzmann Model,” Flow Measurement and Instrumentation, Vol. 21, pp. 255–261, Scholar
  8. Liu, J., Lin, C.L., and Miller, J.D., 2015, “Simulation of cluster formation from kaolinite suspensions,” International Journal of Mineral Processing, Vol. 145, pp. 38–47, Scholar
  9. Liu, J., Sandaklie-Nikolova, L., Wang, X., and Miller, J.D., 2014, “Surface force measurements at kaolinite edge surfaces using atomic force microscopy,” Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol. 420, pp. 35–40, Scholar
  10. Masliyah, J., Czarnecki, J., and Xu, Z., 2011, Handbook on Theory and Practice of Bitumen Recovery from Athabasca Oil Sands, Kingsley Knowledge Publishing, Alberta, Canada.Google Scholar
  11. Motta, C., Bryan, J., and Kantzas, A., 2008, “Characterization of Oil Sands Tailings using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Technique,” 10th International Mine Water Association Congress, Karlovy, Czech Republic.Google Scholar
  12. Sharma, S., Lin, C.L., and Miller, J.D., 2017, “Multi-scale features including water content of polymer induced kaolinite floc structures,” Minerals Engineering, Vol. 101, pp. 20–29, Scholar
  13. SNF Holding Co., 2014, “Preparation of Organic Polymers,“ Scholar

Copyright information

© The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Metallurgical Engineering, College of Mines and Earth SciencesUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

Personalised recommendations