Surface chemical aspects of microbubble flotation

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Virginia Tech

In order to demonstrate the ability of microbubble flotation to superclean coal to ash levels of less than 2%, several Eastern U. S. coals have been tested. The results show that the process is capable of producing superclean coal with improved recovery as compared to the conventional flotation process.To further improve and understand the microbubble flotation process, electrokinetic studies of the hydrocarbon oils used in flotation as collectors have been conducted. Also, the effect of oil emulsifiers on the zeta potential of oil droplets has been studied. In general, oil droplets are negatively charged and negative zeta potential is reduced with the addition of nonionic and cationic surfactants. On the other hand, the negative charge is increased with the addition of an anionic reagent. It has also been shown that the negative zeta potential of oil droplets increases with increasing hydrocarbon chain length.The effects of different collectors on induction time and flotation have been determined by conducting microflotation and induction time experiments using an Elkhorn seam coal sample. The results show that industrial oils combined with the coal have the shortest induction times and, therefore, the highest flotation yields as compared to pure hydrocarbon oils. It has also been shown that oil emulsifiers tend to increase flotation yield and reduce particle/bubble induction time.