CFD-DEM modelling of matte droplet behaviour in a flash smelting settler

Jani-Petteri Jylhä, Ari Jokilaakso

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientificpeer-review


The Outotec Flash Smelting process is widely used in primary copper production. A layer of slag on top of matte (copper–iron sulphide melt) creates a barrier through which matte droplets descend. Droplets of different sizes settle through the layer at different rates, which increases possibility of copper losses as smaller matte droplets may be removed with the slag. In this work CFD-DEM (computational fluid dynamics – discrete element method) coupling was used to simulate matte droplets settling through the slag during slag tapping. Discrete droplets and slag flow were simulated with DEM and CFD, respectively. This new approach enables tracking and solving movement and interactions of individual droplets. User-defined models were created to take coalescence and reaction kinetics into account. Coalescence created larger droplets, while the reactions decreased droplet size and increased its density. Drag caused funnelling effect, which pulled droplets towards the centre line of the descending cluster. This research is the only study known by the present authors in modelling liquid-liquid systems with the CFD-DEM coupling. Simulating coalescence and chemical reactions for discrete droplets enables more realistic simulations. However, CFD-DEM simulations are computationally resource intensive already without additional models, so a full scale industrial settler modelling still waits for further increase in computer performance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2019
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventCopper International Conference - Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 18 Aug 201921 Aug 2019
Conference number: 10


ConferenceCopper International Conference
Internet address


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