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Partition moment of inertia: Techno-economic partition curve analysis with applications to coal separations

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2016, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 68-76

Noble, A.; Luttrell, G.H.



In coal and mineral processing, several numeric parameters are used to quantify the separation performance of unit operations. For density-based separations, the partition curve is used as the starting point for many stages of diagnostic analyses. The curve is often quantified by its midpoint slope sharpness, and this single value is subsequently used for technical evaluation, benchmarking, and comparison. While this analytical approach does depict misplacement by relative density class, it inherently prioritizes middling separation and does not consider process economics or the micro-price value of individual classes. An alternative parameter, the organic efficiency, does indirectly consider process economics, but it does not reveal information on the root cause of lost revenue or misplacement. In this paper, a new analytical approach, the partition moment of inertia, is introduced. This parameter reconciles the technical misplacement data derived from the partition curve with the economic data derived from micro-pricing. The result is a new analytical procedure that promises better use of performance data.