ABSTRACT

An underwater mining system which is a crawler based system consisting of a mining machine moving on the sea bed collecting polymetallic nodules, crushing and pumping the crushed nodules through a flexible riser to the mother ship by a slurry pump has been developed. The slurry pump is a single stage positive displacement type driven by an independent hydraulic system that pumps nodules. Pressure drop studies for clear water and slurry flow with solids through flexible hoses of varied bend angles and various bend radii were conducted using the solids pump in an experimental test setup. The studies were conducted for the most likely occurring bend angle of 70°, 20° and 60° with a bend radius of 5 times the hose diameter for various flow rates. The results of 20° bend angle were compared with the steady state pressure drop values obtained using Computational Fluid Dynamics using FLUENT™ software. The results from the tests were useful in conducting subsea tests on underwater mining machine at 1032 m depth.

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