Preprint 2001-040

Numerical Methods for the Simulation of Continuous Sedimentation in Ideal Clarifier-Thickener Units

R. Bürger, K. H. Karlsen, N. H. Risebro, and J. D. Towers

Abstract: We consider a model of continuous sedimentation. Under idealizing assumptions, the settling of the solid particles under the influence of gravity can be described by the initial value problem for a nonlinear hyperbolic partial differential equation with a flux function that depends discontinuously on height. The purpose of this contribution is to present and demonstrate two numerical methods for simulating continuous sedimentation: a front tracking method and a finite finite difference method. The basic building blocks in the front tracking method are the solutions of a finite number of certain Riemann problems and a procedure for tracking local collisions of shocks. The solutions of the Riemann problems are recalled herein and the front tracking algorithm is described. As an alternative to the front tracking method, a simple scalar finite difference algorithm is proposed. This method is based on discretizing the spatially varying flux parameters on a mesh that is staggered with respect to that of the conserved variable, resulting in a straightforward generalization of the well-known Engquist-Osher upwind finite difference method. The result is an easily implemented upwind shock capturing method. Numerical examples demonstrate that the front tracking and finite difference methods can be used as efficient and accuratesimulation tools for continuous sedimentation. The numerical results for the finite difference method indicate that discontinuities in the local solids concentration are resolved sharply and agree with those produced by the front tracking method. The latter is free of numerical dissipation, which leads to sharply resolved concentration discontinuities, but is more complicated to implement than the former. Available mathematical results for the proposed numerical methods are also briefly reviewed.

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Raymund Bürger
Kenneth Hvistendahl Karlsen <>
Nils Henrik Risebro, <>
John D. Towers, <>
Publishing information:
Submitted to a special issue of Int. J. Mineral Process on the occation of the United Engineering Foundation conference "Solid-Liquid Separation Systems III", Davos, September 30 to October 5, 2001
Submitted by:
<> October 10 2001.

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