Barite has numerous applications including barium mud for oil well drilling, manufacture of elemental barium, filler for paper and rubber industries, and contrast material for X-ray radiology for the digestive system. Currently, froth flotation is the main method for the beneficiation of barite using fatty acid as a typical collector. In this research, it was found that lauryl phosphate is also a promising collector for barite flotation. Results from microflotation, contact angle, and zeta potential indicate that lauryl phosphate is adsorbed on the barite surface and thus achieves superior flotation efficiency at a wide pH range. The interfacial water structure and wetting characteristics of barite surface with/without lauryl phosphate adsorption were also evaluated by molecular dynamics simulations (MDS). The results from molecular dynamics simulations and interaction energy calculations are in accord with the experimental results, which suggest that lauryl phosphate might be a potential collector for the flotation of barite.
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