Modeling the flow of suspended mine tailings in a gelled fluid
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Mine tailings can be disposed by suspending them in a drilling based fluid. A drilling based fluid consists of water and bentonite in specified quantities. The mixture of mine tailings and the gel was modeled. The viscosity was determined using a Baroid's viscometer. Bingham's plastic fluid model in conjunction with the debris flow model were used to mathematically model the mixture. A short-duct test in the laboratory was conducted in order to study the flow properties at various bed angles. The mixture was allowed to flow in a rectangular duct. Distances and time were recorded to calculate the average flow velocity. This short-duct test will be used to predict the problems that might be encountered if the same was done on a large-scale basis. The duct also suggests information for assessing the appropriate large-scale trench dimensions and mine-filling mechanisms. A video recording of the fluid flow was used to study the flow front formation and viscous fingering.