|Summary / Abstract
The critical surface tension of wetting of hydrophobic materials has been investigated extensively by Zisman et al. (1973) and relates the spreading of a liquid on a solid to the surface tension of this liquid. Thus, the Zisman ap¬proach shows that a plot of Cos 0 versus ?LV where, 0 is the contact angle and ?LV is the surface tension of that liquid in contact with its own vapor at equilibrium, produces a straight line which can be extrapolated to Cos 0 = 1. The intercept corresponds to a given ?LV, termed the critical surface tension of wetting. In instances, however, Cos 0 - ?LV plots show deviations from linearity.
Alternative approaches have also included the plotting
of adhesion tension (YLV COs 0) versus ?LV that can be interpreted in terms of critical surface tension data (Lucassen-Reynders, 1963).
It has, on the other hand, been customary to correlate contact angle (0) with flotation data, although it is recognized that surface inhomogeneities and related contact angle hysteresis limit the interpretations pertaining to solid surface structures purely based on contact angle measurements. It is nonetheless true that 0 = 0, when the liquid is water, corresponds to a hydrophilic solid.
Determination of ?c by contact angle measurements in conformity with the Zisman approach can encounter experimental difficulties, especially when solids are in a powder form.
Following the reasoning that 0 = 0 corresponds to the hydrophilic state of a solid, froth flotation experiments can be expected to produce critical surface tension of wetting values for powders.
The technique that consists of plotting recovery (% R) versus YLV data and extrapolating the linear part of the curve to % R = 0, has been described elsewhere (Yarar and Kaoma, 1984).
This paper describes some of the results obtained by the extrapolation technique mentioned above, using various sulfide minerals.
Molybdenite (MoS2), sphalerite (ZnS), chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), chalcocite (Cu2S), and galena (PbS) were handsorted from massive samples and ground by mortar and pestle, and the -147 Fan fraction used in experiments; sulfur (S) was a C.P. Fisher Scientific Co. product.
One gram powder samples were conditioned for three minutes in methanol-water solutions of predetermined surface tension values and the percents recovered by flotation using a Partridge-Smith Cell (Partridge and Smith, 1972), were plotted against each ?LV value.
Results and Discussion
The percent recovery versus ?LV for two naturally hydrophobic solids, i.e., natural molybdenite, MoS2 and sulfur are given in Fig. 1 where it is seen that ?c for sulfur is obtained as 31.5 mNm-1 whereas for MoS2, it is 26 mNm-1. Figure 1 also shows that the new flotation technique described, for estimating ?c is in good agreement with the Zisman method.
Curves obtained by the same method for the minerals Cu2S, PbS, and ZnS are given in Fig. 2, where it is seen that for Cu2S, ZnS, and PbS, the extrapolation to % R = 0 produces ?c values of 36, 39, and 49 mNm-1, respectively. CuFeS2, on the other hand, gives a curve that does not permit such an extrapolation to obtain a ?c value with certainty. Nonetheless, treatment of the powder with 8.95 X 10-5 molar Na2S solution followed by washing with distilled water prior to flotation effects the curves as shown in the insert of Fig. 2.
The type of curves given in Fig. 1 appear to be typical of hydrophobic solids as can also be observed in Fig. 3. The composition of solid and minute quantities of inclusions seem to play an important role as regards the surface properties of solids as reflected by the slope of the linear part of the % R - ?LV plot and thus the value of ?c obtained by this technique. For example, MoS2 of three different stoichiometric compositions produced the data given below.