MINING DEFOAMERS / ANTI-FOAMING AGENTS
A mining and mineral processing defoamer or anti-foaming agent is a chemical additive that can prevent, reduce, and break or remove foam and entrained gases in slurry handling equipment. It is used to slow or prevent the formation of foam, and also to break or manage foam that has already formed in mineral handling systems, especially when the foam is causing processing problems. Slowing or eliminating the formation of foam in mineral process liquids improves operational efficiency. In the mining and mineral processing fields, the terms defoamer and anti-foaming agent are frequently used interchangeably.
In mineral processes, too much foam can cause mineral losses as storage vessels foam over and equipment fills with foam, causing operational bottlenecks and slowing down mineral collection rates. Mineral processes typically encounter three types of foam challenges:
- Dissolved air in the aqueous phase
- Entrained air bubbles that are small enough and stable enough to be suspended in the slurry media
- Bubbles that have sufficient buoyancy and stability to rise to the surface, and collect on top of the mineral slurry as foam.
Mining and mineral processing defoamers or anti-foaming agents can be specially formulated to comprehensively and simultaneously handle each of these challenges.
Many mineral defoamers are insoluble in the foaming mineral slurry and are designed to have surface active characteristics specific to the nature of the foam, minerals and aqueous ions. A mining defoamer must act rapidly to spread across often viscous mineral foam and surfaces, breaking bubbles and foam by changing the surface tension between minerals in the aqueous phase. It attacks and interferes at the air-liquid surface where it destabilizes the foam structure or lamellae, creating a collapse or rupture of the entrained air bubbles and breaking down the surface foam. Entrained air bubbles are agglomerated into larger bubbles that buoyantly rise to the surface through the bulk mineral slurry, bursting other entrained air structures on the way up.
At the surface level of thickeners, pump boxes and other process equipment, low-viscosity defoamers can spread across the surface area of the foam, bursting bubbles as the media is gently mixed to effectively remove surface foam. Eliminating these types of surface foam can reduce processing losses and help equipment run more efficiently.
In mining applications, defoamers can be enhanced by customizing the defoamer and dosing system to the application. The dosing and application of the defoamer is key to its success and a reliable and robust defoamer system is needed. In most mining scenarios, partnering with a company that custom formulates defoamers and designs dosing systems is the best approach to solve foam issues during mineral processing.
A variety of foam control agents are available to prevent the formation of foam for specific ores, mineral handling equipment, launders, and mineral pumping and flotation process conditions to aid in the handling of phosphate and industrial minerals. Lab screening of formulas and then plant testing enables the selection of the best formula for your operation. Onsite testing and process consultation can further increase value.
ArrMaz formulates and manufactures customized defoamers for specific ore bodies, equipment types, and flotation process conditions to beneficiate oxide ores such as phosphate and industrial minerals. Let ArrMaz work with you to develop and implement a customized defoamer and dosing system to help you succeed.