January 2019
Volume 71    Issue 1

The effect of particles on surface tension and flotation froth stability

Hadler, K.; Cilliers, J.J.

ABSTRACT:

Full-text paper:
Hadler, K. & Cilliers, J.J. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 63. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-018-0020-z

It is widely accepted that particles stabilize flotation froths and that stable froths result in improved flotation performance. Predicting the effect of particle addition on froth stability is, however, challenging. Furthermore, there is currently no technique that allows the prediction of the effect of different flotation reagents on froth stability, without carrying out froth stability experiments. 

   In this study, we use the maximum bubble pressure technique to measure the surface tension with and without particles, over a range of surfactant concentrations, and compare the results to froth stability measurements. The results show a clear link between surface tension and froth stability, with conditions that yield lower surface tension giving higher froth stability. The addition of particles lowers surface tension, and increases froth stability. This work shows, for the first time, the explicit link between surface tension and froth stability in particulate systems. We propose that the maximum bubble pressure technique can be used to predict the effect on froth stability of changing combinations of particles and reagent type and dosage in a rapid, reproducible system.

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