In dredging and pumping applications, sometimes you may encounter sediment that is hard and densely packed, making it difficult to pump. For these materials, it is important to determine the best method to agitate the target material for optimal pumping and dredging. Sediment agitation is important in applications in which the material is densely consolidated, has a liner, or in situations where optimal solids content versus water ratio is crucial.
The four primary methods of agitating material while pumping or dredging are the use of cutterheads, water-jetting systems, augers, or mixers.
Cutterheads are used when there is a fixed boom such as a ladder dredge or excavator with a slurry pump attachment. These cutterheads usually rotate between 15 to 60 rpm and are equipped with specially designed cutter teeth around the attachment. The rotating cutterhead breaks up consolidated material such as compacted sand, mud, and sludge, helping feed material into the pump. The cutterhead is mainly used for beach dredging, river dredging or any other type of shallow water dredging of up to about 30-ft and without a liner present.
Water Jetting Systems
Water-Jetting Systems are nozzles attached to the suction of a pump that shoots high-pressure water jets to break up consolidated material, increasing the amount of material fed to the pump or dredge. Water jetting systems usually come equipped with a number of nozzles which can blast water several hundred psi.
Water-Jetting systems are ideally used in liner dredging applications where ponds, basins and sumps are lined with plastic poly, concrete, or clay liners. The water-jetting system breaks the material and feeds the pump or dredge without tearing or puncturing the liner, which is possible if a cutterhead could do. Water-jetting systems are also ideal for deep water dredging applications (30+ ft.) where the depth is too great for excavators or ladder dredges. In deeper water applications, the pump is suspended from a cable with the water-jetting system attached.
Primary pump applications for a water jetting system are dam dredging, tailings pond dredging, ocean dredging and other desilting application. Water-Jetting systems are also ideal to add to sump pumps to break up sludgy material, while making sure nothing clogs the pump such as rags in wastewater treatment facilities or tree bark in paper and pulp applications.
Auger Dredges incorporate an archimedean type screw which is set at 90-degree angles to the suction pipe of a dredge. The auger acts similar to a
Mixers are a unique mechanical mixing device added to dredges when the material is of significantly high viscosity or there is little to no free water. Similar to how egg beaters operate, a mixer added to the dredge will mix the material in real time decreasing the viscosity and fluidizing the material to optimize it for pumping. This is ideal for red mud pumping in bauxite mining applications along with other mine tailings, sludge pumping, manure pumping, and many other applications.
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