ABSTRACT:

In a hydraulic lifting system for manganese nodules, the two-phase flow consists of a continuous liquid phase and a dispersed solid phase. If the flow is laminar, the motion of each solid will follow a smooth trajectory and deterministic. However, the flow in a lifting pump will has random and turbulent path. For the modeling of a lifting pump, three-dimensional two-phase analysis has been conducted by using FLUENT based on Eulerian multi-phase method. We have studied the effect of inlet shape on two-phase flow by comparing the values of pressure and solid fraction in a transient state. The numerical simulation shows that the shape has a large effect on the flow characteristics in the lifting pump. From the results, the inlet area of the pump has been modified.

INTRODUCTION

The deep sea floor could be thought as the last treasury of mineral resources to be left for mankind. The advanced countries have already driven forward actively the development of deep sea mineral resources in preparation for the on-land mineral resource exhaustion since 1960's. Especially, the successful development of deep sea manganese nodules requires developing exploration, mining and transfer technologies simultaneously, among which mining technology includes collecting and lifting technologies of the manganese nodules (Chung, 1994). Lifting system is crucial to achieve the success of the deep-sea mining project, by which manganese nodules are conveyed from the seafloor to the mining ship and can be classified into the hydraulic pumping system and the air lift system according to the fluid dredging type, the continuous line buckets system of the mechanical type and the modular marine mining automation system. Among the lifting methods, it proved that hydraulic pumping and air lift systems were feasible technically (Yoon et al., 2001; Yoon et al., 2003).

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