FLOTATION REAGENTS & COLLECTORS
Froth flotation is the most widely used industrial process for the separation of finely liberated minerals. The process involves the aeration of minerals in water in the presence of flotation reagents which facilitate the attachment of air bubbles to and levitation of select minerals. Once at the surface, the select minerals are supported by a froth layer until they are removed. Unattached materials remain submerged in the pulp.
The surface properties of a mineral determine its ability to float. Collectors, some of the most important flotation reagents used in the flotation process, are used to modify the surface properties of minerals. A collector is a chemical that selectively binds to the surface of target minerals and imparts hydrophobicity to those mineral particles, a necessary condition for air bubble attachment.