Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 21–34 | Cite as

Effect of ζ-Potentials on Bubble-Particle Interactions

  • Kaiwu Huang
  • Roe-Hoan YoonEmail author


Derjaguin and Dukhin (1961) were the first to develop a model for bubble-particle interaction in flotation from first principles by considering the surface forces in wetting (or flotation) films. The model predicted that the energy barriers to bubble-particle attachment arise from the ζ-potentials of fine particles, which corroborates well with an earlier work of Fuerstenau (1957) reported for the flotation of quartz using dodecyl ammonium acetate (DAA) as collector. In the present work, a series of surface force measurements have been conducted by accurately monitoring the changes in bubble curvature during bubble-silica surface interactions. The curvature changes are then used to determine the capillary force, which is the sum of the hydrodynamic and surface forces. By subtracting the former that can also be determined from the curvature changes, one obtains the surface forces (or disjoining pressure). The results obtained as functions of pH and collector concentrations show that control of the ζ-potentials of bubbles relative to those of the silica surfaces is critical for maximizing the negative disjoining pressure, which is conducive to promoting bubble-particle attachment in flotation.


ζ-potential Bubble-surface attachment Wetting films Surface forces Disjoining pressure Contact angle 



The authors would like to acknowledge Professor Peter Vikesland for allowing them to use the Malvern Zetasizer NanoZS.

Funding Information

This study was financially supported by the National Energy Technology Laboratory and US Department of Energy (DE-FE0029900).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mining and Minerals EngineeringVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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