Force and Energy Measurement of Bubble-Particle Detachment


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Virginia Tech


Possibilities for increasing the upper limit of floatable particle sizs in the froth flotation process have been examined since the early beginnings of mineral flotation. The economic implications of such an incresae are far ranging; from decreased grinding costs and increased recoveries to simplified flow-sheet design and increased throughput, all leading to increased revenue. Bubble-particle detachment has been studied to better understand the factors influencing the strength of attachment and the energies involved. Direct measurements of bubble particle detachment were performed using a hanging balance apparatus (KSV Sigma 70 tensiometer) and using a submerged hydrophobic plate in water. Three experiments were used; direct force measurement of bubble-particle detachment, detachment force and energy of a bubble from a submerged hydrophobic plate, and detachment force and energy of a cetyltrimethylammonium bromide coated silica sphere from a flat bubble. Octadecyltrichlorosilane was used as a hydrophobic coating in the first two experimental methods. These experiments were recorded with a CCD camera to identify the detachment processes involved. Energies for both methods were calculated and divided into the two main steps of the detachment process: Three-Phase-Contact pinning and three phase contact line sliding. The first step represents the energy barrier which must be overcome before detachment can begin. It is directly related to contact angle hysteresis. Detachment occurs during the second step, where the solid-vapor interface is replaced by solid-liquid and liquid-vapor. This step corresponds to the work of adhesion. The effects of surface tension, contact angle and hysteresis were well demonstrated with the three experimental methods. Good correlation was found between theoretical work of adhesion and measured energies.



contact angle hysteresis, bubble-particle detachment, octadecyltrichlorosilane, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, coarse particle flotation