There are a number of ways that minerals can be processed. One of these ways is through the process of electrostatic separation. This process allows mineral processors to isolate high-quality minerals and separate them from other gangue minerals. So what is electrostatic separation and how does it work? In this article, ST Equipment & Technology LLC (STET), explains the key features of electrostatic separation and how we incorporate it into our separation technology equipment.
Electrostatic separation separates minerals based on their negatively or positively charged aspects. Electrostatic separation is used in several ways, but it is most frequently used in the mineral processing industry. An essential step in mineral processing is separating valuable minerals from non-valuable parts (gangue). This step allows for the production of the high-quality minerals needed in the creation of different products.
There are a few different ways that mineral separation equipment uses electrostatic separation. In each case, the purpose of the machine is to separate differently charged particles from one another. This is completed on a parallel plate, an angular plate, or a drum separator. In each, there are three main features—the charging of the particles, the conveyance of these particles, and the separation of the particles. Each of these steps is necessary to produce a high-quality product.
During the particle charge phase, the minerals acquire opposite electric charges. In the conveyance stage, these charged particles are attracted to a plate with the opposing charge (positive plates attract negative particles and vice versa) and conveyed to different areas. And finally, in the separation stage, they are separated into two distinct compartments based on the electric charges.
Because there are different electrostatic mineral separation equipment types, they each use unique methods for separating the material. For this article, we will go through each of these stages using the example of the triboelectric STET separator.
One of the key features of electrostatic separation is the charging of particles. In order to separate particles, they must first be electrically charged. Charging particles can occur in a number of ways, but the STET separator uses triboelectric charging. In order to do this, minerals are fed into the separator and fall into an electrode gap (space between a positively charged plate and a negatively charged plate). This gap is where the particles bump into one another and become charged. Some particles will become negatively charged and others will become positively charged.
After the particles are charged, they are then separated. Because these particles are negatively or positively charged, they are pulled toward the plates that are oppositely charged. The positive particles are attracted to the negative plate. Similarly, the negatively charged particles are attracted to the positive plate. Between the plates and the particles is an open-mesh belt that conveys the particles in opposite directions. The positively charged particles are attracted to the top and are moved by the belt to the right. In contrast, the negatively charged particles are attracted to the bottom and moved by the belt to the left.
Through the three key processes of triboelectric separation, mineral processors can produce high-quality minerals that can be used in the creation of various products. ST Equipment & Technology LLC (STET) is an electrostatic separator company based out of Needham, MA.
We provide state-of-the-art mineral processing equipment, fly ash drying equipment, and electrostatic separation equipment to our customers all over the world. We are dedicated to helping our customers and the world we live in. Want to learn more? Contact us today!