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Application of response surface methodology for parametric evaluation of air dense medium fluidized bed separator used for coal cleaning

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2015, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 146-154

Mohanta, S.; Chakraborty, S.; Meikap, B.C.


An air dense medium fluidized bed separator is an efficient dry process for the removal of undesirable gangue material from run-of-mine coal. Its cleaning performance depends on a variety of operating parameters that are interrelated in unknown, complex ways. A literature review showed that these parameters' effects had been experimentally investigated using a traditional one-variable-at-a-time approach, which is highly inefficient and sometimes misleading because many of the parameters often interact with each other to alter the overall equipment performance. Also, it is realized that the interrelationship among these parameters can have a significant effect on equipment performance. Therefore, to correctly evaluate the effects of individual parameters as well as their interactional effects on the separation performance of an air dense medium fluidized bed, we conducted a scientific study based on response surface methodology. Empirical models for two key response variables, namely, product ash and combustible recovery, were developed and subsequently used for identifying an appropriate operating region to achieve optimum separation performance. Furthermore, the optimum performances predicted from the empirical models were validated against experimental data. Preliminary results show a strong interaction among the operating parameters investigated in this test program.