Mathematical Sediment Transport Model of Heterogeneous Tailings

André L. B. Cavalcante
Márcio M. Farias
André P. Assis

DOI: 10.2190/ES.32.2.f


Tailings dams using the upstream hydraulic fill method may present deficiencies related to construction and safety. It is difficult to evaluate the variability of real deposits based on the field process. Therefore, a mathematical model was developed to describe and simulate the mechanism of formation of granular tailings dams based on equilibrium and continuity equations of the fluid and the heterogeneous sediments (quartz and iron). The model accounts for the main external variables (slurry concentration and flow rate) and internal variables related to the slurry mixture, such as particles sizes, grain density, and relative percentage of iron and quartz. Analytical and numerical results using the model were compared with real deposition profiles obtained in laboratory simulations and a good agreement was found. The model was also applied to predict the height and slope of a real tailings dam and the results matched very closely the observed ones.

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