INSTRUCTIONS TO AUTHORS FOR THE PREPARATION

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DEVELOPMENT OF FROTHER CHARACTERIZATION TECHNIQUES
Jose R. Hernandez-Aguilar*
Cytec Industries Inc.
9061 Garner Road,Niagara Falls
Ontario, L2E 6S5, Canada
[email protected]
Carmina Quintanar
Cytec Chile Ltda.
Las Dalias 2718
Macul, Santiago, Chile
* Corresponding author
ABSTRACT
The primary role of a frother is to increase the ability of bubbles to collect particles by reducing the bubble
size in the pulp zone of a flotation cell. Once bubble-particle aggregates are formed, frother molecules are
transported from the pulp zone into the froth zone along with the rising aggregates. Depending on the
frother chemical composition and concentration, the degree of bubble size reduction in the pulp zone, as
well as the froth zone characteristics (stability, mobility, solids composition, water and gas content, etc.)
will vary thus influencing the metallurgical performance of a flotation system. However, characterization
techniques that gauge the effect of frother chemical composition on pulp-zone bubble size are nearly
nonexistent, in spite of its obvious importance. Furthermore, frother characterization work is often
performed through laboratory batch flotation tests which, on the one hand, restricts the evaluation to only a
limited fraction of the froth zone (i.e., the froth surface) and, on the other, it cannot reproduce the
continuous interactions that occur between the pulp and froth zones in a real flotation system. For these
reasons, frother selection is usually performed directly in the plant – a procedure that heavily relies on
visual clues. This paper presents a practical frother characterization technique that evaluates the effect of
frother type on pulp-zone bubble size, froth-zone characteristics and metallurgical (grade-recovery)
performance in a system operating in continuous mode.
KEYWORDS
Flotation chemistry, frothers, bubble size, flotation cell hydrodynamics, flotation froths, gas dispersion
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