Numerical modeling and simulation of the electric breakdown of rocks immersed in water using high voltage pulses

Published on Feb 1, 2021
· DOI :10.1007/S40948-020-00190-W
Yuansheng Li2
Estimated H-index: 2
(HUST: Huazhong University of Science and Technology),
Jun Liu3
Estimated H-index: 3
(HUST: Huazhong University of Science and Technology)
+ 5 AuthorsFengnian Shi24
Estimated H-index: 24
(UQ: University of Queensland)
Sources
Abstract
Selective breakdown of mineralized particles by using high-voltage pulses (HVP) has been reported, yet its mechanisms are not fully understood, and the HVP setting factors affecting its efficacy in ore pre-concentration for the mining industry are not established. This study investigates the electro-dynamic mechanisms of electric breakdown by using the time-transient dielectric breakdown model and the finite-difference numerical method. Monte-Carlo method with random sampling is applied to calculate breakdown probabilities. The model and the selected parameters have been validated by the published experimental data of the electric breakdown of mineralized synthetic particles. The simulations of pulse rising time from 150 ns to 1 μs showed that the HVP breakdown threshold of rock particles gradually increased as the pulse rising time decreased. This suggests that to minimize the mis-breakdown of barren rocks in the HVP-enabled ore pre-concentration application, it is important to use a generator with a short pulse rising time. Shorter pulses also led to a higher probability of the internal breakdown of the mineralized particles. The simulations indicate that inhomogeneity of conductivity in an ore particle caused the streamers to bend toward the area of inclusion with high conductivity in a host rock matrix, which increased the probabilities of the breakdown of this mineralized particle. This phenomenon was more pronounced as conductivity rose. High-conductivity inclusions can reduce the minimum voltages required for the breakdown of the mineralized particles.
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