Laboratory-Scale Apparatus for Semi-Continuous Electrokinetic Dewatering of Phosphatic Clay Suspensions
A semi-continuous electrokinetic dewatering apparatus for phosphatic clay suspensions has been designed and its performance has been evaluated. A 23 factorial design was applied to determine the optimum process parameters. The results show that the electric field was found to have the greatest positive influence on the solids content. The maximum change in solids content reached a plateau as a function of operating time at a given electric field. Moreover, the plateau occurred earlier at larger electric fields, indicating that for the maximum solids content the optimum parameters of the electric field and the operating time can be determined. The CEDA had lower energy consumption and continuously produced the thickened clay which had the highest solid content of about 33 wt%. The CEDA can be operated to cope with dilute initial solids content (3-10%) from a phosphate mining beneficiation plant. The CEDA has potential to replace existing thickening equipment.