A portable slurry wear apparatus, developed by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, was used to study slurry erosion in the laboratory and in situ at a gold ore processing plant. The wear cell of the apparatus was identical with an earlier laboratory model. It used an impeller running at tip speeds of less than 22 m s-1 to drive a continuous flow of fresh slurry past 16 specimens. Laboratory experiments run in an aqueous slurry of silica sand showed that ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (uhmwpe) wore less than any metal alloy or other polymers evaluated at 8 or 12 m s-1; at 16 m s-1 several polymers wore less than two steels. However, in gold ore slurries from an industrial float cell and rod mill, high-chromium white cast irons wore less than uhmwpe at 8 and 12 m s-1, and in the rod mill slurry at 16 m s-1 the polymers wore no better than the steels. The same trends were observed previously in an industrial slurry containing a lead-zinc sulfide ore. In all cases the wear rate varied roughly as the fourth power of the impeller tip velocity. When particle shape was held constant, the wear rate always increased with particle size. The effect of particle shape was more complex: angular particles were more detrimental to polymers and rounded ones were more detrimental to alloys. Pitting corrosion also removed material from the alloys. For high-chromium white cast irons, corrosion and erosion varied with microstructure.
Wear, V. 134, 1989, PP. 59-79