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Characterizing Frothers through Critical Coalescence Concentration (CCC)95-Hydrophile-Lipophile Balance (HLB) Relationship

Department of Mining and Materials Engineering, McGill University, 3610 Univeristy Street, Wong Building, Montreal, QC H3A 2B2, Canada
NesseTech Consulting Services Inc., 17-35 Sculler’s Way, St., Catharines, ON L2N 7S9, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2012, 2(3), 208-227;
Received: 22 June 2012 / Revised: 26 July 2012 / Accepted: 31 July 2012 / Published: 13 August 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mineral Processing)
PDF [1499 KB, uploaded 13 August 2012]


Frothers are surfactants commonly used to reduce bubble size in mineral flotation. This paper describes a methodology to characterize frothers by relating impact on bubble size reduction represented by CCC (critical coalescence concentration) to frother structure represented by HLB (hydrophile-lipophile balance). Thirty-six surfactants were tested from three frother families: Aliphatic Alcohols, Polypropylene Glycol Alkyl Ethers and Polypropylene Glycols, covering a range in alkyl groups (represented by n, the number of carbon atoms) and number of Propylene Oxide groups (represented by m). The Sauter mean size (D32) was derived from bubble size distribution measured in a 0.8 m3 mechanical flotation cell. The D32 vs. concentration data were fitted to a 3-parameter model to determine CCC95, the concentration giving 95% reduction in bubble size compared to water only. It was shown that each family exhibits a unique CCC95-HLB relationship dependent on n and m. Empirical models were developed to predict CCC95 either from HLB or directly from n and m. Commercial frothers of known family were shown to fit the relationships. Use of the model to predict D32 is illustrated. View Full-Text
Keywords: flotation; frothers; bubbles; coalescence; CCC; HLB flotation; frothers; bubbles; coalescence; CCC; HLB

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Zhang, W.; Nesset, J.E.; Rao, R.; Finch, J.A. Characterizing Frothers through Critical Coalescence Concentration (CCC)95-Hydrophile-Lipophile Balance (HLB) Relationship. Minerals 2012, 2, 208-227.

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