Miscellaneous Physical Separations

Khalafalla, S. E. ; Wyman, R. A. ; Vandenhoeck, J. P. ; Swartz, G. ; Brison, R. J.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 35
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1985
Magnetic fluids are commonly composed of ultrafine submicron particles of magnetite (Fe3O4) dispersed in either a kerosene or a water carrier medium with oleic acid as a protective colloid. The unique property of these fluids is that when the magnetic particles are attracted to a magnet the carrier medium moves along with the particles so that the liquid also appears magnetic. The availability of a fluid whose gross behavior changes sharply in a magnetic field without affecting its rheologic characteristics is becoming critical for many technologic applications. About two gener¬ations ago suspensions of relatively large, micron-sized ferromagnetic particles in oil proved useful in clutches, brakes, and dashpots. These were called magnetic clutch materials, and their viscosities were highly dependent upon the applied magnetic field, in contrast to true mag¬netic fluids which retain their fluidic characteristics under all applied fields and field gradients. While the term "ferrofluid" was used by Rosensweig and Kaiser' to designate a magnetic colloid composed of a dispersed magnetic ferrous material, the more general term, "mag¬netic fluid," is preferred. This is because these fluids may contain ferro- or ferrimagnetic substances, such as cobalt, nickel, gadolinium, dysprosium, or magnetic ferrites in carrier liquids, such as hydrocar¬bons (kerosene), silicones, water, fluorocarbons, etc. Preparation of Magnetic Fluids Magnetic fluids were first prepared by Papell and Faber, at the NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, by tumbling ferrite materials for several weeks in a carrier medium (such as kerosene) and a dispersing agent (such as oleic acid) with steel balls. Rosensweig et al.1 compared the stability of their ferrofluids obtained from both metallic iron and the magnetic oxides of iron, Fe3O4 and yFe2O3. They found that, although the saturation magnetization of iron is 3.5 times greater than that of magnetite, its colloidal solutions deterio¬rated much more rapidly. The iron particles were undoubtedly rapidly oxidized to a nonmagnetic state due to the enormous surface area of these colloidal particles. Because the properties of these fluids are highly dependent on particle size and may acquire opposite characteristics by small incre¬ments in that size, more controllable methods of preparation have been developed recently by Khalafalla and Reimers.6 In one method metastabilized pyrophoric wiistite is ground to colloidal size in a kerosene oleic acid mixture, and then it is disproportionated to colloi¬dal magnetite and iron at temperatures just below the eutectoidal temperature of wüstite stability (570°C); thus, t < 570°C 4 FeO t > 570°C Fe + Fe30, (1) Because of its antiferromagnetic characteristics, the precursor wüstite is much easier to grind than magnetite. Another method3 avoids grinding entirely and utilizes a peptiza¬tion technique from ferrous materials in the molecular state of aggrega¬tion. This latter procedure has resulted in preparation of strong fluids at considerable savings in cost.
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