Recent experimental advances for understanding bubble-particle attachment in flotation.

Research paper by Yaowen Y Xing, Xiahui X Gui, Lei L Pan, Bat-El BE Pinchasik, Yijun Y Cao, Jiongtian J Liu, Michael M Kappl, Hans-Jürgen HJ Butt

Indexed on: 18 Jun '17Published on: 18 Jun '17Published in: Advances in Colloid and Interface Science


Bubble-particle interaction is of great theoretical and practical importance in flotation. Significant progress has been achieved over the past years and the process of bubble-particle collision is reasonably well understood. This, however, is not the case for bubble-particle attachment leading to three-phase contact line formation due to the difficulty in both theoretical analysis and experimental verification. For attachment, surface forces play a major role. They control the thinning and rupture of the liquid film between the bubble and the particle. The coupling between force, bubble deformation and film drainage is critical to understand the underlying mechanism responsible for bubble-particle attachment. In this review we first discuss the advances in macroscopic experimental methods for characterizing bubble-particle attachment such as induction timer and high speed visualization. Then we focus on advances in measuring the force and drainage of thin liquid films between an air bubble and a solid surface at a nanometer scale. Advances, limits, challenges, and future research opportunities are discussed. By combining atomic force microscopy and reflection interference contrast microscopy, the force, bubble deformation, and liquid film drainage can be measured simultaneously. The simultaneous measurement of the interaction force and the spatiotemporal evolution of the confined liquid film hold great promise to shed new light on flotation.