Optimization of ilmenite flotation process in the presence of microwave irradiation
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In the present study, the effect of parameters, including microwave irradiation power, pH, dosage of chemical reagents (collector, depressant and activator) were studied by microflotation (in Hallimond tube) process. The mechanical flotation tests were carried out on optimum parameters obtained from microflotation tests. The software based on experimental design method (DX7) with the two-level full factorial design was applied to determine the parameter effects and to optimize the microflotation recovery. The optimum conditions were determined by analysis of variance (ANOVA), indicating that the irradiation power was the most effective parameter. The optimum values of parameters in the microflotation process are as follows: power of microwave (1000 W), pH (6.3), dosage of chemical reagents (sodium oleate 3.65 × 10-4 M as a collector, acidified sodium silicate 2 g L–1 as a depressant, and lead(II) nitrate 2.1 × 10–5 M as an activator). By applying these optimized parameters, a product with ilmenite recovery of 83.26% was predicted by the software. The results of microflotation tests indicated that an ilmenite recovery of 82.35% was achieved being very close to the predicted value. The results of mechanical flotation based on optimized condition showed that the recovery and separation efficiency of irradiated ilmenite were improved up to 86.03% and 48.61%, respectively, indicating the positive effect of irradiation on ilmenite floatability.
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