Role of induction time and other properties in the recovery of coal from aqueous suspensions by agglomeration with heptane

Fan, C.W.
Hu, Y.C.
Markuszewski, R.
Wheelock, Thomas
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The percent recovery of fine coal or graphite particles suspended in water by agglomeration with heptane was highly dependent on the measured induction time, i.e., the gas bubble to particle attachment time of the material. The induction time was found to correlate closely with the heat of immersion of the solids in water, another indicator of the hydrophobic/hydrophilic character of the material. For a series of coals and graphite, the agglomeration recovery decreased exponentially with increasing induction time. For the more oleophilic coal or graphite particles, an increase in salt (NaC1) concentration of the suspending medium caused an increase in agglomeration recovery and a decrease in induction time. For the less oleophilic coal or pyrite particles, an increase in salt concentration caused a decrease in agglomeration recovery apd an increase in induction time. Due to the opposing effects of salt concentration on the recoveries of a highly hydrophobic coal and pyrite, it was possible to improve the separation of these materials by an increase in salt concentration. On the other hand, because the recoveries of pyrite and a weakly oleophilic coal were affected similarly by an increase in salt concentration, it was not possible to improve the separation of these materials.


Reprinted (adapted) with permission from Energy Fuels, 1989, 3 (3), pp 376–381. Copyright 1989 American Chemical Society.