Graphics on how back pressure pipes work
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The challenge with level control on the last cell of a flotation bank is well-known: the reason is a higher pressure drop across this valve compared to the rest of the valves in the bank. The pressure drop across the valves between two tanks is a function of the step height whereas the pressure drop across the last valve is determined by the tank height which may be four or five times greater. A back pressure pipe, otherwise known as a goose-neck or riser-pipe, provides the solution by increasing the downstream pressure of the final valve by providing “back pressure” to the last valve.

The advantages of the back pressure pipe are that they:

  • Generally allows the final valve to be matched to the other valves in the bank which minimises the spares requirement,
  • Widens the control region on the final valve making it easier to tune,
  • Reduce the height of the plant (2—3 metres) which means cost savings both building and operating the plant,
  • Low profile float plant which results in considerable energy savings,
  • Decouple the level from the sump,
  • Reduce the wear on the valve components by reducing velocities within the valve.
  • For existing plants it allows a cross stream tails sampler to be installed.
  • Tails density monitoring is an easy optional extra.
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