RotGrub

Recirculating Highbanker W/ Vortex Sand Separator

45 posts in this topic

Ran some -100 material through the new vortex tank and it clearly spun it down. I'm still having issues with the new structural foam tank as it is trying to collapse; not as much as the previous plastic tank but there are signs of slight deformation in one area. I guess that I'm underestimated the negative pressure of my little WX15... I believe that I can add a few interior braces to strengthen the tank, but if this exercise is sucessful I will need a stronger tank. I also ordered a new carb for the WX15; for $35 it beats a rebuild. Must be sucking air through a gasket as the choke needs to be closed down during operation and it will not idle. My real job has become very intrusive... TBC

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Still waiting for the carb to arrive... Packing up base camp and heading up this weekend to get set up. Will try to get the vortex tests done next week but I may have to run the 2nd gen system and work on the 3rd gen system as time allows.  

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Ran some material through the vortex today and it looks like it is working. Every time I run or work on the system I learn something new. I think I'm going to need a bigger pump... The vortex reduces the pump output and if I add an additional filtration system I don't think my little WX15 will supply enough water to run the highbanker. As it is with just the vortex I think I'll be OK... Maybe.  

 

 

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I worked on the tailing sluice and added the slurry duct to direct the slurry into the vortex. I then set up the system and ran some material to see how everything worked. I found a few problems with the tailing sluice; leaks & a better slurry duct design. The vortex seems to work as hoped but there are still a few refinements needed; a clean out & better lid seal. I'm also realizing that my little WX15 will not provide enough flow if I add the canister filters as it is working very hard to power up the vortex. Regardless, I feel that I'm heading in the right direction.

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I would use caution introducing chemicals into the environment. At some point we need to dump the supply tank and I would not be comfortable discharging these chemicals into the environment. I agree that there are benefits to some of the available chemicals but as stewarts of our lands we should not allow the use of these products in the wilderness. I do however appreciate your comment and interest in solving the recirculation issues. :)

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Finally got out and field tested the vortex tank on the AMRA Albie 2 claim...

 

Ok, I've been trying to embed the video and I keep getting an error message. I tried the BBc code with media brackets and also the youtube brackets, What am I doing wrong?

 

 

 

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Heading back out this weekend to run as many buckets as I can. The only unexpected issue that I had on the last trip (other than the carb spring...) was draining the vortex tank. I removed the 2" cap and opened the discharge valve and nothing... I shook the tank and removed the top fitting but no discharge. I measured 8" of slit in the bottom of the tank (28 buckets ran) with the shovel handle and determined the silt was plugging the discharge outlet. I then connected my pump to the discharge inlet and let her rip.

 

After about 10 seconds the water shot out from the top inlet above the vortex. I then removed the pump and drained the tank. I used the pump to flush the tank out from the top and remove most of the silt. Need a better design to clean out the tank... Funny how when you are trying to seal something with the proper sealants and flashing the thing leaks like hell. Then you assume that simply opening a valve of dirty water it will drain...

 

Now that I confirmed the vortex is collecting a percentage of the -60 material I need to address the fine clays. My next step is to mix some Alum into the supply tank and see if the fine material flocks together enough to be either removed by the vortex or screened out. We shall see...

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Here is a 5 min video showing the ability of a hydro cyclone separating sad & clay. Although there are specific short clones, or maintenance clones used for clay, the principle is solid.

 

http:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=scovFSpYnfw

 

Or the title is "Hydrocyclone Performance - Removing sand & London clay from water.

 

But there is a better way to drop silt & clay from your water, but it again in the mining industry that you must look.

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I am enjoying reading these conversations. The presentations of your scientifically measured analysis of trial and error systems that you have and are trying is stimulating to our thoughts. Continue to strive to create a better system for in so doing you may suceed.

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Will do FreeGoldFanatic, Ran 56 buckets of -1/2" material last weekend. Experimented with some alum to flock the clays together with some success. Will post the video later tonight.

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Here is the video from last week. We ran 56 buckets of -1/2" material and could have ran more. We tried out some alum and it seems to have worked, but now I need to figure out how to segregate the flock material from the supply tanks. We got some chunky gold and continue to learn.

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Possible theories for my problem

My tailing screen is plugging up and I can’t explain why. I’m at the point that I think there might be a physics issue occurring which is beyond my knowledge.

Background: I have designed and built a recirculating highbanker which consists of a plastic 70 gallon supply tub which feeds a powder coated steel vortex cone that is isolated with rubber and plastic washers to a 24 gallon aluminum sediment tank. The vortex is connected to a 2.5hp Honda water pump with 1 1/2” flex PVC pipe and brass couplers. The pump feeds the highbanker with 1 1/2” flex PVC pipe and brass couplers connected to the PVC spray bar located in the highbanker’s plastic hopper. The highbanker is constructed from aluminum with a short rubber v-mat, miner’s carpet under zinc expanded metal, under a zinc riffle system.

The tailing screen is made from ash & poplar wood with a stainless steel 60 mesh screen mounted to the wood frame. The bottom of the tailing screen is fabricated with galvanized sheet metal which slopes from both the front and rear to the center where a 4” PVC discharge outlet is located. The cavity between the SS mesh and bottom GSM is 1 1/2” on the front & rear and 4” in the middle at the drain outlet.

Operation: The pump pulls water from the 70 gal supply tub up into the vortex where the heavier -60 particles are spun down the vortex into the 24 gal sediment tank. The sediment tank has a vacuum gage which operates between 60-30 psi. By design the vortex pulls cleaner water up into the pump and pressurizes the highbanker spray bar system.

The highbanker washes the material and discharges the tailings onto the tailing screen which are brushed off with a nylon street broom. During the process the tailing screen is brushed constantly to remove the tailings and prevent the tailing water from filling up the screen. The tailing screen sits on top of the 70 gal supply tub with the 4” outlet extending below the water line of the supply tub into a funnel pipe to collect the -60 material into the vortex.

I have used a similar system without any problems in other areas with different material with the exception of the vortex tank. The 60 mesh never plugged up as I’m now experiencing. My first thought was the new material had a higher concentration of fine particles which was the cause of the tailing screen plugging up.

But after running 150 buckets of -1/2” material I can say the condition seems to not be created by the concentration of fine material. The more material you run the concentration of suspended clays increases which should result with more plug ups as the suspended clays build up.

This is not the case. I have experienced these plug ups within a 10 bucket run with relatively clean water and have no plug ups in 40-50 bucket runs where the suspended clay concentration is at its highest. It has no pattern related to the water viscosity as it occurs randomly through the runs; at different times and different days.

On closer inspection it seems like there is a vacuum on the bottom side of the 60 mesh. It almost has a sheen created by a film of water. If I beat on the screen with the brush and brush both forwards and backwards rapidly it seems to release the water and quickly drain and I can the proceed to run several more buckets without incident.

So here are my questions:
1. Could a vacuum be created under the screen?
2. Could the minerals in the material and the brushing action with a nylon brush over the SS screen create a magnetic field or some other issue and be attributed to the problem?
3. Could there be magnetic particles in the material which are sticking to the SS screen which their concentrations are equally as random as the plug ups?

It doesn’t make any sense to me. I was going to just replace the 60 mesh with 50 mesh and see what happens but I really believe something else is going on.

There are videos of this system in operation above if you are interested in helping me solve this problem.

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The nylon screen began to fail after 67 buckets... The next tailing screen will be designed with stainless steel removable screen trays that can be easily cleaned or changed in the field. However, the nylon never plugged during its use. If it were a bit tougher it might be a economical solution as the cost for nylon is about 45% cheaper than SS.

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