The applications of electrical resistance tomography for multiphase flows in mineral processing

W. Xie, X. Li

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The research aimed at solving the problem of measuring instantaneous local physical quantities for multiphase flows in mineral processing, which are common in minerals industry and with significant challenges. Due to the lack of proper measurement tools currently in minerals industry, multiphase flows (such as in flotation cell) are treated as in a “black-box”. It is crucial to develop measurement technique by which the acquired processing data can be used for process optimization and control. By measuring the conductivity distribution across a measurement area, Electrical Resistance Tomography (ERT) has been adopted by many researchers to monitor and investigate many processes involving multiphase flows in other industry sectors. A compact ERT probe was built and then used to measure the conductivity distribution within a few flotation machines. In a flowing foam flotation column, the results showed that ERT can accurately measure the change of liquid content (high conductivity fluid distribution). In another part of work, based on the Green-Kubo relations, ERT can measure turbulence via the fluctuation of conductivity caused by bubbles moving through the measurement area, changing the density of the fluid. The tests with the Metso 3 m 3 RCS flotation cell were also carried out for turbulence measurement under different air rates and impeller speeds. The results of flotation cell from ERT measurement showed that varying impeller speed had more pronounced influence than changing air rate. When impeller speed is increased, the size of the high turbulent zone increases. ERT is a powerful technique that has the potential to be used for a wider range of applications. The future work will be carried out with more case studies and expanded to more processes such as leaching process, high temperature flows in further downstream production chain (steel making process and alloy manufacturing process).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIMPC 2018 - 29th International Mineral Processing Congress
PublisherCanadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9787030227119
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event29th International Mineral Processing Congress, IMPC 2018 - Moscow, Russian Federation
Duration: Sep 17 2018Sep 21 2018

Publication series

NameIMPC 2018 - 29th International Mineral Processing Congress


Conference29th International Mineral Processing Congress, IMPC 2018
Country/TerritoryRussian Federation

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would also like to thank Bill Randall of UCT for providing ERT box. The authors would also like to acknowledge Prof Jan Cilliers, Prof Stephen Neethling of Imperial College, and Dr Kym Runge of University of Queensland for support and discussions. The assistance on data collections on Metso cell tests from Dr Jun Meng and Dr Erico Tabosa is gratefully acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© IMPC 2018 - 29th International Mineral Processing Congress. All rights reserved.


  • Conductivity distribution
  • Electrical resistance tomography
  • Multiphase flows
  • Turbulence energy distributions


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