2008 MAPLA • SONAR-Based Technology

New Applications of SONAR-Based Technology in the Minerals Processing Industry

Velocity Profile Measurement and Pipe Wall Wear Monitoring in Hydrotransport Lines
Date of Conference: 
August 3, 2008
Robert Maron, Mark Fernald, Christian O'Keefe, John Viega, Tim Bailey
Abstract / Introduction: 

SONAR-based non-invasive flow measurement technology has been available for approximately five years in industrial processes and is becoming an accepted method of measuring challenging single and multi-phase flows in the mineral processing industry. This fundamental sensor and measurement technology has been extended to two developments that provide new measurement capabilities useful for monitoring and managing slurry flows, and measuring pipe loss due to erosive slurry flow.

The first development is the non-invasive measurement of real-time velocity profile of slurry flow in horizontal pipes. Multiple non-invasive sensors measure localized velocities and are combined to provide a velocity profile measurement. This information can be used to determine the approach and onset of solid deposition on the bottom of the pipe. Having this information in real time can enable operation at lower velocities and/or higher solids concentration while avoiding solids deposition and its associated operational costs. An example benefit of such a system is the operation of a tailings disposal line at higher solids density to reduce water usage.

The second development is the non-invasive measurement of pipe wear on slurry lines without internal liners. Presently, such measurements are made by hand-held portable ultrasonic thickness gages which have problems with poor repeatability and accuracy, and high labor cost. The SONAR-based system uses a permanently installed non-invasive ring with twelve ultrasonic wall thickness sensors equally spaced around the circumference. Simultaneous measurements provide a “picture” of the pipe wall thickness around its entire circumference. The benefit is significantly improved pipe wear monitoring, safer operation and avoidance of costly environmental damage due to leaks caused by pipe wear.

Reference number: 
Asset type: 
Technical Paper