Effects of air usage on flotation of coal

Szatkowski, M.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
The studies conducted by Laplante and coworkers (1983,1984) with flotation of galena and quartz, showed that the rate of flotation reaches a maximum value for a certain intermediate value of the air flow rate. A similar, though less pronounced, effect of the air flow rate on the selectivity was also observed. Luttrell and coworkers (1985) showed that the size of air bubbles has a significant effect on both rate and selectivity of coal flotation. These two studies used flotation tests in which no froth layer was formed. This note describes effects of the air flow rate and bubble size on the rate constant and selectivity of coal flotation, using a mechanical laboratory machine with a froth layer allowed to form. Experimental A raw, dry ground Illinois coal was used in flotation tests. The size distribution and ash content of the samples are : Particle size (┬Ám) Weight (%) Ash (%) +600 4.30 41.7 600/200 43.05 19.0 200/74 22.25 16.0 - 74 30.40 24.0 average 20.8 No. 2 fuel oil with a concentration of 200 g/t of feed and M.IBC with concentrations of 11, 22, and 33 mg/L of pulp (128, 256, 384 g/t, respectively) were used as flotation reagents. Tap water with a natural pH of 7.0 to 7.8 was used throughout the tests. No other reagents were used. The starting concentration of coal in the pulp was 86 g/L. A standard flotation machine with the pulp volume of 5 L was used in experiments. Three different air flow rates were employed, resulting in three air escape velocity values of 14, 30, and 70 cm/min. The air escape velocity (AEV) was calculated as the ratio of air flow rate (Qa) to the slurry surface (Ss) in the machine. For a comparison, the upper limit of air escape velocity values used in commercial size flotation machines is between 70 and 100 cm/min (WEMCO, 1983). A machine consisting of a generator of fine bubbles and a separatory column, described elsewhere (Szatkowski and Freyberger, 1985), was used for some tests where bubble size lower than that generated in the standard machines was required. Prior to a flotation test, a batch of coal was mixed with water in the flotation cell for at least 10 minutes to ensure that all coal was thoroughly wet. Then the specified amount of fuel oil was added and the pulp was conditioned for five minutes. The specified amount of MIBC was added 15 seconds before the end of conditioning. After air flow was opened, flotation products were collected for 0 to 30, 30 to 60, and 60 to 120 second intervals. Content of the combustible material in samples was determined by subtracting the ash content from 100%. A photographic technique was used to determine initial distributions of bubble size generated by the flotation machines. Bubbles generated in water containing the prescribed amount of the frother but no solids were photographed against a black background. The average diameter and standard deviation were then calculated for each set of flotation conditions. The method gives results reproducible within k 5% of the average bubble size. Table 1 contains information about the measured bubble size distributions expressed by the average bubble diameter (Db) and the standard deviation ( SD ) . Results and discussion The general formula for calculating the flotation selectivity is: o = recovery of coal/recovery of ash (1)
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