Microemulsified collector and depressants of sulphide minerals for coal cleaning with froth flotation

Zhao, Xuemin (2022). Microemulsified collector and depressants of sulphide minerals for coal cleaning with froth flotation. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Flotation is the primary method for fine coal preparation with Kerosene as a collector. But low recovery of clean coal, high sulfur content, poor selectivity and high consumption are among the main factors that seriously affect the flotation efficiency. This Ph.D work aims to address some of these challenges. First, a new type of nonionic collector was therefore developed in this work. Such a new collector costs approximately 50% of that of the traditional collector with the same combustible recovery. In order to solve the problem of high sulfur content in coal, the effects of PAC (Polymeric aluminum chloride) and cooked corn starch on depressing pyrite were then studied, which have rarely been reported in the literature. More details of this work are summarized in the following:

Firstly, a new collector called MEC (Microemulsion Collector) composed of blending surfactants of Span 80 (Sorbitol fatty acid ester) and Tween 80 (Sorbitan esters and polysorbates), Kerosene, MIBC (Methyl iso-butyl carbinol) and distilled water was developed. The collector was then characterized by Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) for size analysis, Cryo-Transmission Electron Microscope (Cryo-TEM) for morphology, electrical conductivity for structure and rheological measurement for viscosity. The small average size of the MEC indicates that MEC could disperse the oily collector and form small droplets in water to improve the combustible recovery of cleaning coal. Electrical conductivity is used to confirm the W/O structure of the new collector. The viscosity of the collector is important for collector molecue spreading on the sample surface in the flotation progress. Flotation performance studies confirmed that when the C\(_R\) (combustible recovery) was 60% and A (Ash) was 16%, the dosage of MEC was ~1000 g/t and the cost was ~7400 RMB/(10\(^3\)t) coal slime compared to ~1000 g/t Kerosene with 14220 RMB/(10\(^3\)t) coal slime, due to the fact that polar oxygen functional groups on coal surface and the hydrophilic sites in MEC formed hydrogen bonding. The electrical conductivity of MEC increased with increasing concentration of mixed surfactants and water, but decreased with increasing concentration of cosurfactant. The rheological measurements of MEC indicated its Newtonian behavior with constant viscosity, which was slightly higher than that of water. The well-known EDLVO theory was then adopted to investigate the interaction mechanisms of coal samples without and with collectors. The addition of MEC and K (Kerosene) could both reduce the repulsive electrostatic interaction energies (V\(_E\)) between particles, and the reduction effect was larger for MEC than K. The hydrophobic interaction energy (V\(_H\)) and the total interaction energy (V\(_T\)) were both much more negative for MEC than for K and that of particles without reagent, signifying that the particles modified by MEC were prone to combine into larger flocs and into foam area.

Secondly, the depressants corn starch or PAC combined with the new collector were studied for depressing the pyrite. Hence the depressing effects of corn starch and PAC on pyrite were first optimized using Box-Behnken design (BBD). The optimized conditions for minimum pyrite recovery were found for corn starch as the dosage was 1490 g/t; modified pH for corn starch was 4; the heated temperature was 100℃. Under the optimized conditions, the predicted yield by BBD method was 13.92%, compared well to the actual yield of 14.01%. The optimized conditions for PAC were the dosage of PAC was 400 mg/L flotation slurry; pH of the flotation slurry was pH = 3; the concentration of PAC was 110 mL water per 1 g PAC. Under this set of optimized conditions, the predicted yield was 18.3% by BBD method, also compared well to the actual experimental yield of 18.64%.

Subsequently, combined approaches including Zeta potential, contact angle, FT-IR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy), and XPS (X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy) analyses were adopted to study the interaction mechanisms between the depressants and pyrite samples. The Zeta potential showed a steady increase of negative values with the corn starch concentration increasing, whereas the Zeta potential increased steadily from negative values to ~20 mV with the PAC concentration increasing due to the adsorption of Al(OH)\(_2\)\(^+\), Al(OH)\(^{2+}\), Al\(_3\)(OH)\(_4\)\(^{5+}\), and Al\(_2\)(OH)\(_2\)\(^{4+}\) on the surface of pyrite. The depressant-free pyrite presented a higher value of contact angle. And the contact angle of pyrite with PAC was significantly lower than that with corn starch, indicating that a much more hydrophilic surface was generated with PAC.

The XPS analyses showed that the strength of both FeOOH 2\(_{p3/2}\) and Fe(II)-S 2\(_{p1/2}\) peaks of pyrite decreased upon interaction with cooked starch, suggesting that pyrite chemically interacted with corn starch. The FeOOH concentration increased significantly from 24.46% to 41.46% with 900 g/t starch due to the formation of FeOOH coating. And the sulfate (SO\(_4\)\(^{2-}\)) concentration also increased from 4.91% to 17.09%, improving the hydrophilicity of the pyrite. Compared with the pyrite untreated with PAC, the concentration of FeOOH and sulfate (SO42-) with 400 mg/L PAC both increased. And the O concentration increased from 46.09% to 58.11%, which would also improve the hydrophilicity of the pyrite surface.

The FT-IR results of pyrite after interaction with corn starch demonstrated that the bands at 2984 cm\(^{-1}\) and 2941 cm\(^{-1}\) due to C-H stretching of the -CH\(_2\) groups increased intensity for the samples treated with corn starch. No bands were observed at 1122 and 1032 cm\(^{-1}\) for pyrite after corn starch adsorption because of the chemical interaction of corn starch with pyrite. And the results of pyrite interacting with PAC illustrated the band at 2941 cm\(^{-1}\) due to the C-H stretching of the -CH\(_2\) group was very strong at the same position as that of the PAC-free. And the bands at 927 and 3362 cm\(^{-1}\) owing to hydroxyl with stretching vibration for PAC were missing after adsorbing with pyrite caused by the chemical interactions of PAC and pyrite.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Chemical Engineering
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
T Technology > TP Chemical technology
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13030


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