Friction losses is a key parameter in the design of pipeline transportation in paste backfill. A full-scale pipeloop test was conducted in the JCHX Paste Backfilling laboratory to investigate the friction losses of cemented unclassified iron tailings slurry. Friction losses in upward sloping pipe, vertical downward pipe, vertical upward pipe, 90° long radius elbow, horizontal straight pipe and downward sloping pipe were tested simultaneously under different solid fractions. The results indicated that friction losses always increase with flow rate and solid fraction. Friction losses in the elbows are about 1.55–2.16 times that in the horizontal straight pipe, which is about 2.7–10.0 kPa·m-1. The pipe-loop test data can be used to analyse the rheological priorities of cemented unclassified tailings slurry. Based on the Buckingham rheological equation, an empirical formula for friction losses was established and applied to a pipe with the optimal diameter of DN 150 mm. It can be concluded that the full-scale pipe-loop test is an effective way to investigate friction losses and the economics of design pipeline transportation.
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