The Role of Flotation Frothers in the Particle-Bubble Attachment Process
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1984
Static attachment of bubbles to solids is contrasted with dynamic attachment in flotation cells. The times of contact during particle-bubble collisions in dynamic attachment are compared with the induction time determinations and the kinetics of thinning of the liquid films separating solids and bubbles. The thinning is examined mainly in terms of electrostatic and dispersion (van der Waals) contributions to the disjoining pressure existing in the films. The local heterogeneity (on a molecular scale) of charge distribution invariably present at all interfaces (even at conditions of zero zeta potential) calls for some means to minimize possible electrostatic repulsions which arise when the electrical double layer at the air-bubble interface begins to overlap that present at the solid surface, on encounter between particles and bubbles. It is postulated that dipoles of frother molecules, owing to their ability to "flip over" (polarise), replace localized electrostatic repulsion by attraction within fractions of a milli- second, as long as the structure of the frother molecules is sufficiently "bulky" to maintain diffuse films (of mixed collector-frother) at the air/liquid interface of bubbles. The relaxation times of dipoles (signifying their "flipping over" ability) have to be shorter than the collision times between particles and bubbles for particle-bubble attachment to be facilitated under dynamic Conditions.