A Simple and Effective Method for Measuring the Density of Non-Newtonian Thickened Tailings Slurry during Hydraulic Transport

Sensors (Basel). 2022 Oct 16;22(20):7857. doi: 10.3390/s22207857.


The extension of the Żelazny Most tailings store facility (TSF), which is the largest in Europe, requires the transport of large amounts of tailings, e.g., from the central area of the TSF reservoir to the new southern extension (SE). In order to use the mature fine tailings deposits located under the clarified water in the TSF reservoir, which were thickened in the process of natural sedimentation, it was decided to choose suction dredgers that collect tailings a few meters from under the water surface. The dredgers, which are most commonly used for the extraction of sand or gravel, showed the ability to pump fine flotation tailings slurry in the conducted tests. However, in order to reduce the costs of the entire operation, it was necessary to control the density of the slurry. The article presents a prototype installation for measuring the efficiency of the solid phase of the "in situ" dredging process in real time. The installation was designed for the needs of dredging a deposit of tailings that were thickened in the natural sedimentation process, and which had a particle size of below 63 μm. The installation consists of a flow meter, a densimeter, and a section for measuring the head loss of the flow of the slurry. The applied methodology allows for the current assessment of the dredger's operating parameters, which translates into a more effective-in terms of process efficiency-management of the dredger's work.

Keywords: U-tube densitometer; densitometers; density measurement; dredging measurements; non-Newtonian fluids.

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • Particle Size
  • Sand*
  • Water*


  • Sand
  • Water