Molecular recognition in mineral flotation: Selectivity in apatite-calcite system
Paper in proceedings, 2014
The present investigation aims to develop and distinguish mineral specific reagents with two functional groups for use in flotation of calcium containing minerals. For this purpose, a series of dicarboxylate-based surfactants with varying length between the carboxylate groups (one, two or three methylene groups) were synthesized. As reference, a surfactant with the same alkyl chain length but with only one carboxylate group in the polar part was synthesized. The adsorption behavior of these new reagents on pure apatite and calcite mineral surfaces was studied using Hallimond tube flotation, FTIR and ζ potential measurements. The relation between the adsorption behavior of a given surfactant on a specific mineral surface and its molecular structure over a range of concentration and pH values, as well as the region of maximum recovery were established. It was found that one of the reagents, with a specific distance between the carboxylate groups, was much more selective for a particular mineral surface than the other homologues synthesized. This selective adsorption of a given surfactant to a particular mineral surface relative to other mineral surfaces as evidenced in flotation studies is substantiated by ζ potential and infra-red spectroscopy data.