A study of bubble-particle interactions in a column flotation process
Gan Cheng 1  
,   Changliang Shi 1,   Xiaokang Yan 2,   Zhijun Zhang 3,   Hongxiang Xu 3,   Yang Lu 1
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Henan Polytechnic University
China University of Mining and Technology
University of Mining and Technology
Gan Cheng   

Henan Polytechnic University, 2001 Century Avenue, 454003 Jiaozuo, China
Publication date: 2016-07-01
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2017;53(1):17–33
Bubble-particle interactions play an important role in flotation. This study examines the behaviour of bubble clusters in a turbulent flotation cell. Particularly, the bubble-particle interaction characteristics in flotation are investigated. The bubble size in a flotation column was measured using an Olympus i-SPEED 3 high-speed camera. Relationships between the circulating volume, bubble size and bubble terminal velocity were discussed. Probabilities of collision, attachment, detachment and acquisition between bubbles and particles in different circulating volumes were calculated based on the flotation kinetic theory. Using the extended Derjaguin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek (EDLVO) theory, the relationship between the potential energy and distance in bubble-particle interaction was analysed. The results demonstrated that as the circulating volume increased, the bubble size and velocity decreased. When the circulating volume increased from 0.253 to 0.495 m3/h, the bubble diameter decreased from 511 to 462 μm, and the corresponding bubble velocity decreased from 43.1 to 37.5 mm/s. When the circulating volume remained constant as the particle size increased, probabilities of collision, attachment, detachment and acquisition increased. When the particle size remained constant as the circulating volume increased, these probabilities also increased. At a constant circulating volume as the particle size increased, the absolute value of the total potential energy between the particle and bubble increased. When the distance between the bubble and particle was 30 nm, the energy barrier appeared.