Flocculation/dispersion of hematite with caustic digested starch
Min Tang 1  
,   Shuming Wen 1
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Kunming University of Science and Technology
Min Tang   

State Key Lab of Complex Nonferrous Metal Resources Clean Utilization, 650093, China and Department of Mineral Processing, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Yunnan, China
Publication date: 2015-06-01
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2015;51(2):477–489
Selective flocculation of hematite with starch is a process well-known in practice. However, the separation of hematite from other minerals depends strongly on the methods of starch digestion performed either as heating-digestion or alkali-digestion (different type and dosage of alkali). The purpose of this study is to identify possible influence of the alkali-digested starch on flocculation of ultra- fine hematite when the starch was digested at different concentrations of sodium hydroxide at room temperature. Adsorption of starch digested with sodium hydroxide at different concentration on hematite was investigated by abstraction and co-precipitation tests. Turbidities tests, settling rates, flocculation/dispersion measurement and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic analysis (FTIR) have also been conducted. Based on the results of the above mentioned tests it is suggested that the flocculating power of caustic digested starch towards fine particles may be significantly weakened, while its dispersing ability starts to play a role instead, if the concentration of sodium hydroxide is high enough in starch digestion. When the weight ratio of NaOH /starch is lower than 2, incomplete gelatinization of starch granules may lead to coagulation of fine particles of hematite mostly due to non-selective electrostatic attraction. The weight ratio of NaOH /starch from 2 to 4 helps to flocculate mineral surfaces selectively and efficiently, assuring a complete digestion of starch granules and a small amount of acidic functional products on the starch chain. However, much smaller and homogenous short-chain granules resulting from higher concentration of sodium hydroxide (the weight ratio of NaOH /starch is more than 4) used to digest starch may weaken the flocculating capacity of the caustized starch for hematite and lead to its dispersion.