Size reduction of CCZ polymetallic nodules under repeated impact fragmentation

J. M. van Wijk, E. de Hoog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Polymetallic nodules provide an alternative source of valuable metals. Nodules from the seabed of the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a prospective mining area, are typically abundant at depths of around 5 ​km. Mining these nodules comprises excavation or pick-up of nodules and hydraulic transport of nodules from the seafloor to the surface. The particle size distribution of the nodules, an important design parameter, will change during transport under influence of different processes. One of these processes is impact fragmentation, especially occurring in centrifugal pumps. Recent research has led to improved understanding of impact fragmentation of polymetallic nodules, but quantification of the degradation process still is an open question due to scarcity of breakage data. In this paper we present a detailed analysis of nodule strengths and stresses occurring during impact and we propose an impact fragmentation model based on limited breakage data. The model is compared with the experiments and we comment on application of this model in engineering practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100154
Number of pages7
JournalResults in Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Deep ocean mining
  • Impact fragmentation
  • Particle breakage
  • Polymetallic nodules

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