In mineral processing, the common requirement for progressively finer milling due to the decreasing of ore grades implies the need for more challenging water recovery conditions in thickeners. Several mining operations exist in arid areas, where water recovery becomes critical. The present paper explores the process of particle separation in batch inclined settlers where the downward facing wall is subject to heating. To this purpose, two-dimensional numerical simulations using a mixture model have been run for a number of combinations of temperature jumps at the downward facing fall, particle diameters, and concentrations. Results show that, for particle sizes on the order of 10 µm, heating has a significant effect on the particle settling velocity at the bottom, but it also promotes particle resuspension, affecting the particle concentration at the supernatant layer. The initial concentration also affects settling: for the concentration range tested (8%–15% by volume), when re-normalized by the average concentration, particle accumulation rates at the bottom were found to be lower for higher average concentrations, thus suggesting that the separation process is more efficient at lower concentrations.
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