Physical purification of diatomite based on laminar-flow centrifugal separation
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China University of Mining and Technology
Xiaoping Yang   

School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China
Publication date: 2014-01-06
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2014;50(2):705–718
Natural diatomaceous earth or diatomite of good quality becomes rare and a demand for it increases every year. In this paper, we develop a novel method based on laminar-flow centrifugal separation to purify mid- and low-grade diatomite for industrial production purposes. Effects of the drum cone angle, drum speed, feeding concentration, feeding flow rate and feeding time on separation were investigated experimentally. The interdependency of these variables was studied using a response surface experiment. Operating conditions of a laminar-flow centrifugal separator were further optimized. Results showed that the feeding flow rate had a great influence on a silicon dioxide content of diatomaceous in concentrate and tailing. The optimal separation results were achieved as 87.5 wt.%, of SiO2 content of diatomaceous in concentrate and 6.98 wt.% in tailing. The optimal operating conditions included the drum cone angle of 0.0087 rad, the drum speed of 89.62 rad/s, the feeding concentration of 24.66 wt.%, the feeding flow rate of 2.33×10–4 m3/s, and the feeding time of 90 s. A scanning electron microscopy (SEM) clearly indicated that the pore blockage on the surface of diatoms was cleared out. The variation about the breakage rate of diatom shells was lower than 5% through the pilot purification production line. The characterization of original diatomite and derived products after purification were determined by X- ray diffraction (XRD). The results indicated that the impurity content of purified diatomite was improved significantly.