Nuclear instruments in mineral processing

Willigen, Timothy (2012) Nuclear instruments in mineral processing. [USQ Project]

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This research project was conceived out of the author's own self-interest in seeking to answer the following:

'Why use instruments that utilize ionising radiation as part of the measurement system?'

This argument was heavily weighted by the author's own safety concerns. Subsequently the research parameters within this document were set on ascertaining the utility and the appropriateness of instruments that use ionising radiation as part of the measurement system.

Instruments utilizing ionising radiation as part of the measurement system are typically labelled as 'nuclear instruments'. This labelling at times is technically incorrect as not all forms of ionising radiation are generated from the nucleus; notably this generalisation
has been continued throughout this document.

Importantly research has found that the use of ionising radiation as part of a measurement system in a mineral processing application is a safe practice.

Nuclear instruments provide reliable measures for often difficult applications where few genuine alternatives exist. These devices have significantly enhanced production
and reduced costs. Taking all things into consideration it may be argued that this technology is under-utilized.

The costs associated with regulatory compliance were found not to be oppressive to large scale operations. However the extra burden of regulatory compliance on smaller scale operations may pose a significant deterrent to the implementation of these measurement systems.

Alternatives were found for the process measurements of in-pipe slurry density and conveyor mass flow. For both process measurements the alternatives are believed to
provide better accuracies, thereby questioning the appropriateness of the use of nuclear instruments in these applications.

The major parts of this dissertation cover;
• the fundamentals of radiation and its measurement,
• radiation safety and regulation,
• measurement applications,
• alternatives,
• recommendations, and
• the author's conclusions.

The benefits bestowed by the use of nuclear instruments throughout industry are impressive; greatly enhanced production at reduced cost, with the addition of close to
real-time assays. Arguments against the use of nuclear instruments appear superuous to the author, as efficient production on a large scale can not be envisaged without

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Item Type: USQ Project
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Supervisors: Maxwell, Andrew
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2013 00:06
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2013 00:06
Uncontrolled Keywords: mineral processing; ionising radiation
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering > 090603 Industrial Electronics
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4009 Electronics, sensors and digital hardware > 400907 Industrial electronics

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