Iron ore is a fundamental pillar in construction globally, however, its process is highly polluting and deposits are becoming less concentrated, making reusing or reprocessing its sources a sustainable solution to the current industry. A rheological analysis was performed to understand the effect of sodium metasilicate on the flow curves of concentrated pulps. The study was carried out in an Anton Paar MCR 102 rheometer, showing that, in a wide range of dosages, the reagent can reduce the yield stress of the slurries, which would result in lower energy costs for transporting the pulps by pumping. To understand the behavior observed experimentally, computational simulation has been used by means of quantum calculations to represent the metasilicate molecule and the molecular dynamics to study the adsorption of metasilicate on the hematite surface. It has been possible to obtain that the adsorption is stable on the surface of hematite, where increasing the concentration of metasilicate increases its adsorption on the surface. The adsorption could be modeled by the Slips model where there is a delay in adsorption at low concentrations and then a saturated value is reached. It was found that metasilicate requires the presence of sodium ions to be adsorbed on the surface by means of a cation bridge-type interaction. It is also possible to identify that it is absorbed by means of hydrogen bridges, but to a lesser extent than the cation bridge. Finally, it is observed that the presence of metasilicate adsorbed on the surface modifies the net surface charge, increasing it and, thus, generating the effect of dispersion of hematite particles which experimentally is observed as a decrease in rheology.
2022 - Avenida Brasil 2162, Valparaíso, en la Facultad de Ingeniería de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso.