Bubble diameter estimation in a mechanically agitated flotation machine

Xu, M. ; Finch, J. A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The photographic measurement of bubble diameter is tedious and restricted to vessels with transparent walls and relatively low bubble concentrations. A new method for predicting bubble diameter in a flotation column has been developed and confirmed by comparison with measured mean bubble diameter (Yianatos et al., 1987) Flotation columns are not mechanically agitated. This note describes an extension of Ms method to a mechanically agitated flotation machine. A recent publication by Szatkowski (1987) provided sufficient data to calculate bubble diameter by the proposed method and compare with values determined photo- graphically. Method In a two-phase system (gas and liquid), bubble diameter (db), superficial gas rate (Vg) and liquid rate (Vl), and gas holdup (Eg) are linked by two relationships (see the nomenclature at the end of the paper for definitions of symbols). [ ] Equation 1 is the definition of slip velocity (relative gas to liquid velocity) for a countercurrent gas-liquid system, and equation 2 is an adaptation (Yianatos et al., 1987) of the expression of Masliyah (1979) for hindered settling in a multispecies system. The solution for bubble diameter is by repetitive substitution of estimates of db in equation 2 until the calculated Ubs is equal to the measured Ubs in equation 1. Results and discussion Table 1 presents the data obtained by Szatkowski (1987) from a mechanically agitated laboratory flotation machine. The machine generated bubbles by directing a gas stream into the vicinity of a disk rotating at Ngh speed (up to 8000 rpm) in the flotation slurry. The air was completely dispersed in a swarm of fine bubbles. A photographic technique was used to determine the distribution of bubble size. The mean diameter and standard deviation were then calculated. Table 1 provides all the information necessary for computing bubble diameter (Vl is assumed zero). The calculated bubble diameter is presented in Table 1 as d;. Figure 1 plots measured versus calculated bubble diameter and shows reasonable agreement between values. There is an apparent tendency to undercalculate the small bubbles and overcalculate the large ones.
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