Contributions to an improved understanding of the flotation process
This dissertation covers research carried out over the past 25 years in the area of flotation. Flotation is one of the most widely used processes in the beneficiation of minerals. The process is characterized by a number of important sub-processes each with their own set of critical variables. These include: • The pulp phase which is influenced by variables such as pH, Eh, the nature of the chemical reagents used, the chemical state of the surface of the ore particles, etc. • The reactor in which the process occurs, viz. the flotation cell, which is influenced by factors such as aspect ratio, degree of agitation, mechanical design criteria, energy input, aeration processes, etc. • The froth phase which is arguably the heart of the process and probably the least well understood but which is influenced by factors such as size and shape of the solid particles in the froth, the nature of the surfactant used, the aeration rate, the water recovery rate, the froth depth, etc.