In the pneumatic conveying of alumina, pipeline wear is a complex problem. There is limited understanding of the wear mechanisms responsible for the high wear rate, which causes rapid thickness reduction of the pipe wall at some points of the conveying network. The ability to determine the wear mechanisms in these high (or critical) wear areas holds the key in determining the service life of pneumatic conveying pipelines in the alumina industry. A large amount of work has been conducted in the laboratory to understand the particle interaction with the pipe walls at the critical areas of the pipeline [visualisation]. These works provided a strong background for analysing the wear environment in the pipeline. From the micro analysis of these samples, it was observed that the material is removed in layers in critical wear areas of the pipeline. For a better understanding of the behaviour of the surface layer, the wear samples were further analysed for its mechanical properties. It was found that the properties of the transfer film largely dictate the wear mechanism in the critical areas of the pipeline near bends as observed previously . Mechanical properties of the transfer film were studied using a UMIS 2000 nanoindenter and surface analysis was conducted using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) as well as X-ray Spectroscope (XPS). Wear behaviour of the surface layer has been explained with the mechanical properties of the thin film.
3rd World Congress on Engineering Asset Management and Intelligent Maintenance Systems (WCEAM-IMS 2008), Engineering Asset Management: Proceedings of the Third World Congress on Engineering Asset Management and Intelligent Maintenance Systems (WCEAM-IMS 2008) (Beijing, China 27-30 October, 2008) p. 240-248