I
0..
<i
11/X
FIGURE 2 a versus I  I1X plot at various Reynolds numbers.
8=60
z
o
I 0.5 r.....,r.,,
U
Z
::>
u, 0.4
::E
<r
w
0:: 0.3
I
en
0.2
W
...J
Z
00.1
en
Z
w
::E
zs
FIGURE 3 Dimensionless stream function versus dimensionless radial distance for a range of
Reynolds numbers at () = 600.
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110 R. H. YOON AND G. H. LUlTRELL
been made dimensionless by dividing it with and plotted as a function of
dimensionless radial distance from the bubble surface, i.e., R/R
b
 1, for com
parison. It shows that as the Reynolds number increases there is an upward shift of
the stream function toward that of potential flow.
From equation (18), an expression for P; applicable for intermediate Reynolds
numbers can now be derived. Using the same procedure as employed for Stokes
and potential flow conditions, it can be readily shown that,
= [l 4Re.
72
](I!)2
r. 2 + 15 R
b
' (19)
Equation (19) shows that P; varies with and inversely with as is the case
with Stokes flow conditions (equation (13)). However, equation (19) is also a
function of the Reynolds number of the bubble, so that P; does not vary exactly as
the inverse square of the bubble size. It can be shown that for bubbles of very large
Reynolds numbers,
r, oc un,
and for bubbles of small Reynolds numbers,
r, oc
(20)
The three expressions for P; applicable in different Reynolds number regions,
i.e., equations (13), (15) and (19), can be summarily represented by the following
single expression:
800 600 400 200
4 L_......L._........ __........ __.......__.......
o 1000
0
D
p
=10jJm
I

2

t9
s
3
BUBBLE DIAMETER (J.lm)
FIGURE 4 Relationship between P< and Do for potential, intermediate and Stokes flowconditions for
D
p
= 10I'm.
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THE EFFECT OF BUBBLE SIZE ON FINE PARTICLE FLOTATION 111
TABLE I
Values of n and A determined for Stokes, potential and intermediate flow conditions.
Flow Conditions
Stokes
Intermediate (Present Work)
Intermediate (Weber and Paddock. 1983)
Potential
A
3/2
3 4Reo."
+
2 15
~ [1 + _o.::(3::..;/1:.::6t..:.)R.:.:ec:::::]
2 1 + O.249Re
tl 56
3
n
2
2
2
(22)
r, = ~ r
in which A and n are the parameters which vary depending on the Reynolds
number. Table I gives the values of A and n for the three different flow regimes
considered in the present work, i.e., Stokes, potential and intermediate flow. Also
shown in this table are the values of A and n obtained by Weber and Paddock".
For the flow conditions pertinent to most flotation operations, n is equal to 2. The
values of A are 3/2 and 3 for Stokes and potential flow conditions, respectively,
while they vary with the Reynolds number of the bubble for the intermediate flow
conditions.
Figure 4 compares the P; values for lO,um particles calculated as a function of
bubble size using the expressions given in Table I. The Stokes flow solution agrees
with the solutions for the intermediate flow range only for the case of very small
bubbles. The potential flow solution obtained by Sutherland" is far from those of
the intermediate flow cases considered in the present work. The dashed line repre
sents equation (3) derived by Weber and Paddock?". As shown, there is agreement
between Weber and Paddock's predictions and those of the present work despite
the differences in their functional forms.
BubbleParticle Adhesion
Clearly, not all particles which collide with bubbles become attached. Otherwise,
no separation would be possible by flotation. Qualitatively, only those particles that
are hydrophobic enough attach themselves to the bubble by forming a threephase
contact with a finite contact angle. To be able to accurately predict flotation
response, it is therefore necessary to evaluate the probability of adhesion in
addition to the P; term that has been considered in the foregoing section. For the
small particles considered in the present work, detachment need not be considered',
i.e., P" = 1.
As soon as a particle collides with a bubble, it begins to slide over the surface of
the bubble and resides on it for a finite period of time, which is generally referred
to as the "sliding" time. The magnitude of the sliding time is determined by the
velocity at which the liquid sweeps the particle along the bubble surface. During
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112 R. H. YOON AND G. H. LUTIRELL
\ SLIDING
'rDISTANCE
FIGURE 5 Polar coordinate system used in determining the critical angle of incidence and probability
of adhesion.
this time period, the intervening film of water must be thinned and ruptured if the
particle is to be attached to the surface of the bubble and eventually collected
in the froth phase. The sweeping action of the particle over the bubble surface
has been verified experimentally and is well documented". A limited number of
experimentally measured sliding times have also been reported by Schulze and
Gottschalk".
Bubbleparticle attachment should occur when the sliding time is longer than the
induction time", which is defined as the time required for the film thinning process.
Therefore, the particle must slide a finite distance over the bubble surface before
the attachment occurs. For a given bubble and particle size, the distance travelled
by a particle along the surface of a bubble is a function of the angle of incidence (6;)
at which the particle strikes the bubble. Only when 6; is smaller than the limiting
angle (6
0
) will the particle have a sliding time longer than the induction time and
become attached.
The probability of bubbleparticle adhesion (Pa) can now be defined as the
fraction of particles in the path of the bubble that actually adhere to the bubble. In
reference to Figure 5, Po should be the ratio of the area inscribed by the limiting
radius (Rol to the area inscribed by the sum of the bubble and particle radii
(R; + R,,). Using this concept, P ~ can be mathematically expressed as,
r, = (R
h
~ R
p
) 2 (23)
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THE EFFEcr OF BUBBLE SIZE ON FINE PARTICLE FLOTATION 113
or,
(24)
(25)
(26)
(27)
The value of the limiting angle (8
0
) is determined by the magnitude of the
tangential velocity of the particle as it slides over the bubble surface. The velocity
of a small particle can be assumed to be the same as that of a streamline passing
through its center!". Therefore, the sliding velocity of a particle is determined by
the tangential velocity of the streamline (u,) at a distance of one particle radius
from the bubble surface. The particle sliding time (t
s
) can then be calculated by
dividing the arc length travelled by the particle by the velocity of the particle, i.e.,
J
"12 R
b
+ R
t, = PdO.
0
0
Ur
An upper integration limit of 7[/2 is used since the streamline flow will move a
particle away from the bubble surface after it passes the bubble equator.
For axisymmetric flow around a rigid sphere, the instantaneous tangential
velocity of the fluid (u ,) can be determined from the stream function (1/J) as follows,
U _ _ ~
Rsin 0 dr
in which r is the radial distance between the center of the bubble and the streamline
in question and 8 is the angular coordinate (see Figure 1).
As has been discussed in the foregoing paragraph, the choice of an appropriate
stream function depends on the flow conditions characterized by the Reynolds
number. The stream functions for the Stokes, intermediate and potential flow
conditions are given by equations (6), (18) and (14), respectively. Substituting
these stream functions into equation (26), one can obtain u, of the fluid at any point
in the vicinity of the bubble.
Substituting equation (26) into equation (25), followed by integration, one can
obtain an expression for t
s
which will become a function of 8
0
, Solving it for 0
0
,
and substituting it into equation (24), an expression for P" can be obtained. The t
s
term in this expression can be substituted directly by induction time (t;) since Is = ti
when 8j = 00
The expressions for P
a
have been derived in this manner for the three different
flow conditions and are given as follows:
P
_ . 2[2 {3U
bli
} ]
u  SIn arctan exp 2R
b(Rb/Rp
+ 1)
for the Stokes flow conditions,
_ 2 [ r(45 + 8Re.
72
) Uh
1
i}]
P;  SIn 2 arctan expl 30R
b(Rb/Rp
+ 1)
for the intermediate flow conditions, and
P
_ . 2[2 { 
3U
b
l
; }]
Q  SIn arctan exp 2( R
p
+ R
b
)
(28)
(29)
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114 R. H. YOON AND G. H. LUTTRELL
for the potential flow conditions. Since each of these expressions is in the form of a
sine function, the value of P
a
falls between zero and unity. This is an improvement
over the numerical solutions obtained by Dobby and Finch
30
whose P; values
exceed 1 when the bubble size is very small or the induction time is short. A sample
calculation for using equation (28) may be given here: a weakly floating particle
whose t, = 100 msec and D" = lO.um will have its P
a
= 0.08. If t, is reduced to
10 msec by increasing the collector addition, for example, P
a
will increase to 0.98.
To demonstrate the utility of equation (28), which is more applicable than the
other two to most flotation practice, P; is plaited in Figure 6 as a function of
particle size (D,,) for the case of 1000.um diameter bubbles and particles with
induction time (I;) values of 10, 20, 30 and 50 msec. As expected, the smaller the
induction time, the higher the value of P
a
for a given particle size. More
importantly, P" is shown to increase with decreasing particle size, which is a result
of the lower tangential velocity (u
t
) and hence the longer sliding time for smaller
particles. Thus, equation (28) suggests that small particles become attached more
readily than large particles once the collision has taken place.
Db' 1000 microns
c
0
(f)
Q)
C
"D
'+
0
P 0.4
...0
0
...0
0
0.2
L
0....
0.0
a 20 40 60 80 100
Particle Diameter (Microns)
FIGURE 6 Effect of particle size on the probability of adhesion for induction times of 10. 20, 30 and
50 msec.
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THE EFFECf OF BUBBLE SIZE ON FINE PARTICLE FLOTATION 115
1.0
C
0
(f)
ill
...c
0
<t:
0
z;.

...0
0
...0
0
L
Q..
400 800 1200 1600 2000
Bubble Diameter (Microns)
FIGURE 7 Effect of bubble size on the probability of adhesion for induction times of 10, 20, 30and 50
msec.
In Figure 7, equation (28) is plotted as a function of bubble size (Db) for the case
of floating 20,um particles having I; values of 10, 20, 30 and 50 msec. As has been
shown to be the case in Figure 6, a decrease in Ii results in an increase in P
a
, which
requires no further explanation. At a given Ii, P; is shown to increase with
decreasing Db until a bubble size of approximately 350,um is reached. This is due
to the fact that as the bubble size is reduced, the bubble rise velocity (Ub) is also
reduced, which in turn results in' an increased sliding time (Is)' A further decrease
in Di; however, causes a decrease in the sliding distance, which results in a de
crease in t, and hence a decreased P
a
.
The changes in P
a
with particle and bubble size have important implications
regarding flotation selectivity. Let us consider strongly and weakly floating (i.e.,
middling) particles having induction times of 10 msec and 100 msec, respectively,
and calculate the P; values using equation (28) as a function of particle size using
two different bubble sizes, i.e., 100 and 1000 ,urn in diameter. As a means of
quantifying selectivity by means of P
a
, a "selectivity index" is defined as follows:
(30)
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116 R. H. YOON AND G. H. LUlTRELL
1.0
I I I
/'
I
I
I
O.B r I 
X
I
Q)
I
U
I
C
0.6 f
I

1
>, I
.......,
I
>
I
.......,
0.4 l
I

U
Q) I

I
Q)
 1000 microns
(f)
I
0.2 11
 100 microns

1
I
0.0 II'
I I I I
0 20 40 60 BO 100
Particle Diameter (Microns)
FIGURE 8 Effect of particle size on the selectivity index for bubbles of 100 ,urn and 1000,urn in
diameter.
in which the superscripts sand w refer to strongly and weakly floating particles. The
larger the value of SI, the higher the efficiency of the flotation separation will be.
The results given in Figure 8 show that SI remains high until the particle size is
reduced to approximately 40,um. Below this, the SI decreases very rapidly with
decreasing particle size and eventually passes through zero for an infinitely small
particle. This finding is similar to, those of Dobby and Finch
30
who also showed that
selectivity diminishes with decreasing particle size. Thus, to counter the effect of
deteriorating selectivity with decreasing particle size, it would be necessary for the
induction time difference between the hydrophobic and the hydrophilic particles to
be increased by chemical additives. It should be noted, however, that as the particle
size is reduced, the population of composite (or middling) particles will be reduced,
which in turn will increase the induction time difference between the floatable and
the nonfloatable particles, thereby increasing the separation efficiency. Figure 7
also shows that the difference between using 100 or lOOOpm bubbles is minimal,
although 1DOpm bubbles tend to show a slightly higher selectivity.
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THE EFFECf OF BUBBLE SIZE ON FINE PARTICLE FLOTATION 117
MODEL VALIDATION
Two series of experiments were undertaken to establish the validity of the
preceding theoretical analyses. In the first set of tests, the probability of collection
(P) was determined for a single bubble rising through a suspension of very
hydrophobic coal particles. The value of P determined as such may closely ap
proximate the probability of collision (Pc) since the probability of adhesion (P
a)
for
very hydrophobic particles should approach unity. In the second set of tests, P
a
values were determined from experimentally measured values of induction time (li)
for a runofmine coal sample, and compared with microflotation results. The
particles used in the flotation experiments were so large that the probability of
collision (Pc) may be considered unity. This will allow a direct comparison between
Pa and floatability.
Validation of the Probability of Collision Model
Figure 9 shows the results of probability of collection (P) measurements conducted
on the Buller seam coal, New Zealand, as a function of bubble size. This coal
z
0
l
t>
W
....J
....J
0
0.1
t>
u,
0
>
I
0.01
....J
CD
<t
CD 6
0
a::
a..
o 500 600
BUBBLE DIAMETER (jJm)
FIGURE 9 Comparison of experimental probability of collection (points) versus the probability of
collision determined using Equation (19) for different bubble and particle sizes.
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118 R. H. YOON AND G. H. LUTIRELL
contained only 0.13% ash and was very hydrophobic as mined. The apparatus and
experimental procedure used in the determination of P have been described
elsewherc'". Experiments were carried out using samples having 40.1, 31.0 and
11.4pm mean diameters. The solid lines in this figure represent the theoretical
probability of collision (Pc) calculated using equation (19). As has already been
noted, the probability of collection (P) measured in experiment should be equal to
Pc, if P; is assumed to be unity for this particular coal sample. Both the
experimental P and the calculated P; values show a drastic increase as the bubble
diameter is reduced. Considering the logscale used for plotting P, the benefits of
using small bubbles for fine particle flotation are quite substantial. Ingeneral, there
is excellent agreement between the theory and the experiment. Note, however,
that the experimental P values are considerably higher than predicted when
collecting large particles with large bubbles. This discrepancy may be attributed to
the likelihood that the large particles deviate from the streamlines due to inertial
force. The lack of fit observed when using small bubbles to collect the 11.4pm
particles may be due to some sort of surface force which becomes more pre
dominant as particle size becomes very small.
100
1.0
c Recovery
o Po
C
() Induction Time
0 8
,.....
80 (fJ
(fJ
E Q)
,.....
J::
<::
0
Q)
'../
6
>,
'+
E
L
0 i=
Q)
>
J:;
C
0
4
0
U
:;::;
Q)
.0
U
o: 0
:J
.0
2
0
0
C
L
0....
a 0.0 a
a 5 10 15 20 25
Oxidation Time (Days)
FIGURE 10 Effect of oxidation time on recovery induction time and probability of adhesion predicted
using Equation (28).
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THE EFFECT OF BUBBLE SIZE ON FINE PARTICLE FLOTATION 119
Validation of the Probability of Adhesion Model
A runotrruue Elkhorn seam coal, Virginia, having a feed ash of IS.S'Y" was used
for both the microflotation and induction time measurements. Flotation tests were
conducted using a 22mm diameter Partridge and Smith'" type microflotation cell.
The induction time apparatus employed in these experiments has been described
elsewhere by Yordan and Yoorr", and is similar to that used by Eigeles and
Votova"'.
Figure 10 shows the results of the microflotation tests and the induction time
measurements carried out on the coal sample aged (or oxidized) in water at an
ambient temperature for varied lengths of time. In general, a prolonged oxidation
resulted in an increase in induction time and a corresponding decrease in float
ability. When the coal sample was fresh, the recovery was approximately 70%,
while after 20 days of oxidation, the floatability was reduced to approximately
20%. Also shown in Figure 10 is the probability of adhesion (Po) predicted using
equation (28). The predictions were made by substituting the measured induction
times into the equation along with the experimental variables, such as particle
size and bubble size, employed in the flotation experiments. As shown, the Po
values calculated as such decrease rapidly as the induction time increases and show
a reasonable agreement with the experimental floatabilities. The calculated Po
values are considerably lower than the fractional floatabilities (% floatability
divided by 100), but the trend is the same. If the flotation time had been shorter
than actually employed (1 minute), the calculated Po values would have been more
closely matched by the flotation results.
As another example, a series of microflotation experiments were conducted on
the Elkhorn seam coal at various pH values, and the results are compared in Figure
11 with the P; values calculated from the induction times measured concurrently
and the particle and bubble sizes employed in the flotation experiments. The
floatability is shown to reach a maximum at approximately pH 8, where the
induction time is minimum. Although the predicted Po values are significantly
higher than the fractional floatabilities, the Po values calculated using equation (28)
can predict the trend and the maximum flotation pH reasonably well. In this case,
the predicted Po values would have been closer to the flotation results if the
flotation time had been longer than actually employed. The results given in Figures
10 and 11 demonstrate that results of microflotation experiments can be predicted
from induction time, particle size and bubble size, and by considering the flotation
time as an adjustable parameter.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
Particle collection during flotation has been divided into two elementary sub
processes, i.e., bubbleparticle collision and adhesion. Detailed hydrodynamic
analysis of the bubbleparticle interaction resulted in the development of functional
forms for probability of collision (Pc) and probability of adhesion (Po)' This was
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120 R. H. YOON AND G. H. LUITRELL
Q)
E
i=
c
o
:..;::;
U
::J
0
C
5
4
3
2
o
c
o
(f)
Q)
...c
0
<{
...0
o
...0
o
l....
0..
10 a 6 4 2
6. Induction TIme
c Recovery
o Po
o L_l__'__'__"__L__0.0
o 12
ao
1OOrrr,..,..,.., 1.0
20
c
Q)
>
o 40
U
Q)
0::::
pH
FIGURE II Effect of pH on recovery, induction time and probability of adhesion predicted using
Equation (28).
made possible by deriving a stream function that can describe the streamlines
around a bubble in the intermediate Reynolds number range, e.g., 0100. The
stream function has been derived using a curvefitting technique for the streamline
patterns available in literature. In deriving an expression for Po assumptions have
been made that particles are much smaller than bubbles, have no inertia and,
therefore, are subjected to streamline flow. .
The results of the present work show that Pc varies as the square of the particle
size (D
p
) and inversely as the square of the bubble size (Db)' This finding is the
same as that obtained by Gaudin?" for Stokes flow conditions except that the
proportionality constant is shown to vary with the Reynolds number. The P; values
predicted at various particle sizes and bubble sizes are in good agreement with the
probability of collection (P) determined experimentally using a hydrophobic coal
sample whose P
a
values approximate unity.
The availability of the stream function allowed calculation of tangential velocity
profiles of the fluids around the bubble, which in turn made it possible to determine
the particle sliding time. By relating the sliding time with the induction time (r.), an
expression for P; has been derived which is shown to be a function of induction
time, particle size and bubble size. It shows that P
a
increases with decreasing
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THE EFFECT OF BUBBLE SIZE ON FINE PARTICLE FLOTATION 121
induction time and also with decreasing particle size. The latter finding suggests
that it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve selectivity with decreasing particle
size. With respect to bubble size, P; reaches a maximum at approximately 350,um
for the case of floating 20,um particles of different induction times. The P
a
values
predicted from the experimentally determined induction times and the bubble size
and particle size used in the microflotation experiments are in reasonable agree
ment with the flotation results.
Acknowledgments
The authors which to acknowledge the financial support for this research which has been provided by the
U.S. Department of Energy under a University Coal Research Grant (No. DEFG2283PC60806) and
Sponsored Contract (No. DEAC2286PC91221). They are also grateful to Beth Dillinger Howell for
her patient assistance with the manuscript.
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