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Application of Depletion Attraction in Mineral Flotation: II. Effects of Depletant Concentration
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Minerals 2018, 8(10), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8100451

Application of Depletion Attraction in Mineral Flotation: I. Theory

1
Department of Mineral Resources and Energy Engineering, Chonbuk National University, 567 Baekje-daero, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju, Jeonbuk 54896, Korea
2
Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Seoul National University of Science & Technology, 232 Gongneung-ro, Nowon-gu, Seoul 01811, Korea
3
U.S. Salinity Laboratory, USDA, ARS, Riverside, CA 92507, USA
4
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon 305-701, Korea
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 August 2018 / Revised: 29 September 2018 / Accepted: 30 September 2018 / Published: 14 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Mineral Processing and Metallurgy)
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Abstract

We investigate the role of depletion interactions in the particle–bubble interactions that determine the attachment capability of particles on the bubble surface in flotation. In this article, we propose a theoretical model that explains how this attractive interaction could enhance flotation efficiency. Two optimum conditions are determined for the concentration and molecular weight of the depletion agent. The optimum concentration can be determined through the extent of surface activity of the depletion agents. The magnitude of the depletion attraction increases as the concentration increases; however, an increase in the concentration simultaneously enhances its surface concentration. The bubble surface adsorption of the depletion agent results in polymer brushes on the bubble surface that produce a large repulsive interaction. In contrast, the optimal molecular weight of the depletion agents is given by the interaction between the depletion agent sizes, which is determined by its molecular weight and Debye length which is determined by the solution ionic strength. We demonstrate that exploiting this depletion interaction could significantly enhance the flotation efficiency and in principal could be used for any particle system. View Full-Text
Keywords: flotation; depletion attraction; particle-bubble interaction; depletion agent flotation; depletion attraction; particle-bubble interaction; depletion agent
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Choi, J.; Kim, G.; Choi, S.; Kim, K.; Han, Y.; Bradford, S.A.; Choi, S.Q.; Kim, H. Application of Depletion Attraction in Mineral Flotation: I. Theory. Minerals 2018, 8, 451.

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