Table of Contents
Physical Separation in Science and Engineering
Volume 2007, Article ID 48238, 13 pages
Research Article

Modelling of the Separation Process in a Ferrohydrostatic Separator Using Discrete Element Method

De Beers Group Services, De Beers sa, P.O. Box 82851, Southdale, Johannesburg 2135, South Africa

Received 15 November 2006; Revised 29 January 2007; Accepted 24 March 2007

Academic Editor: Gerd Mauschitz

Copyright © 2007 V. Murariu and P. J. Sergeant. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents a model of the separation process in a ferrohydrostatic separator (FHS) which has been designed and developed at DBGS, De Beers, South Africa. The model was developed using special discrete element method software package called Particle Flow Code in 3D (PFC3D). Special attention has been paid to the selection of the simulation parameters in order to achieve the required feed rates. The simulation was carried out using spherical particles and density tracers of different sizes and densities ranging between 0.004 and 0.008 m and 2700 and 3800 kg/m3, respectively. The tracers were used to set the apparent density of the ferrofluid (the cut-point) and to provide a measurement of the efficiency of the separation. The model is replacing the ferrofluid by imposing a drag force on the particle. The results of the simulation were presented in the form of the distribution of the density tracers into the sink fraction. These results are realistic and show the advantages of DEM to understand the complex flow behavior of granular materials.