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Open AccessArticle

Analysis of Kaolin Flocculation in Seawater by Optical Backscattering Measurements: Effect of Flocculant Management and Liquor Conditions

1
Departamento de Ingeniería Química y Procesos de Minerales, Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad de Antofagasta, 1240000 Antofagasta, Chile
2
Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Universidad Arturo Prat, Almirante Juan José Latorre 2901, 1240000 Antofagasta, Chile
3
Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, The University of British Columbia, 517-6350 Stores Road, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
4
Escuela de Ingeniería Química, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, 2340000 Valparaíso, Chile
5
Departamento de Ingeniería Metalúrgica y Minas, Universidad Católica del Norte, Av. Angamos 610, 1270709 Antofagasta, Chile
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(4), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10040317
Received: 16 February 2020 / Revised: 23 March 2020 / Accepted: 28 March 2020 / Published: 31 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cleaner Production in Mineral Processing)
Optical backscattering (OBS) signal values were used to evaluate the flocculation of kaolin slurries and seek the implications of using seawater. Two anionic flocculants were applied to kaolin suspensions at several dosages and in water of varying pH and electrolyte concentration. An OBS height scan method was used to estimate the degree of aggregation, supernatant quality, and solids concentration of the sediments. The residual solids of the supernatant depended of the extent of particle coagulation before flocculant was added, where the pH and salinity displayed a significant impact on flocculation. The OBS results were highly sensitive to the presence of fine particles, which was estimated in parallel from the focused beam reflectance measurements (FBRM.) In seawater, without flocculant added, the samples had increased root-mean-square scattering (Frms) values and larger final sediment volume than samples prepared in water with lower electrolyte concentration. This indicates a higher initial state of aggregation of the particles in seawater. Then, the aggregation degree was best linked to the square-weighted chord length distribution of the FBRM data, which intensifies the sensitivity to coarse aggregates. View Full-Text
Keywords: clays; seawater flocculation; optical backscattering; aggregation state; polyelectrolyte clays; seawater flocculation; optical backscattering; aggregation state; polyelectrolyte
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Jeldres, R.I.; Jeldres, M.; MacIver, M.R.; Pawlik, M.; Robles, P.; Toro, N. Analysis of Kaolin Flocculation in Seawater by Optical Backscattering Measurements: Effect of Flocculant Management and Liquor Conditions. Minerals 2020, 10, 317.

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