FLSmidth, which was asked by the EU's 2020 Horizon initiative last year to be the lead industrial partner in the project, will work with five PhD students from Helmholtz Center Dresden Rossendorf. The total grant awarded to FLSmidth and its partners for the project was €1.4 million.
"Flotation is extremely complex and requires a great deal of understanding in mechanical, process and metallurgical challenges," stated FLSmidth. "Since it is a key process area with impacts on upstream comminution and downstream dewatering, there is huge potential to save energy and resources through the innovations in refining flotation process technology."
The project, named "FlotSim", has the goal of drastically improving the recovery rates of flotation through fundamental flotation analysis and comparing the state-of-the-art industrial technologies to each other.
The company added that this fundamental research, along with strong internal R&D efforts, will advance its existing and developing flotation products including its forced air solution nextSTEP, its naturally aspirated WEMCO, fast flotation REFLUX and coarse particle coarseAIR flotation cells.
"Improved next generation flotation processes are mandatory to remain economically competitive and to respond to sustainable mining for future generations. The FlotSim collaboration with industry and university partners, along with the recruitment of five early-stage PhD research candidates will address some of these important societal challenges," said the company.
The researchers will each spend between 3-6 months working alongside FLSmidth flotation experts in Salt Lake City. They will jointly investigate and model the flotation processes with their complex interactions between valuable mineral particles, gas bubbles, and turbulent flow, addressing phenomena from the nanoscale to the scale of pilot machines, with focus on traditional and novel flotation techniques.