MINERALS ENGINEERING, vol.170, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
In this study, a theoretical evaluation of the effect of inertial forces in particle-bubble interactions during the flotation process is presented and supported by the experimental data. The effects of positive and negative inertial forces were analyzed by comparing the differences between the models, which either consider or neglect the inertial forces. The Sutherland collision model and the Nguyen attachment model that completely ignore the effect of particle's inertial forces (inertialess models) were implemented into the general flotation kinetic model. The modified model was then compared with one of the most accurate inertial models, which considers the Generalized Sutherland Equation (GSE) for collision efficiency along with the Dobby-Finch model for attachment efficiency. The flotation kinetics of chalcopyrite and galena particles were estimated using the general flotation kinetic model in order to demonstrate the effect of particle density on the model, which emphasizes the effect of inertial forces. The influence of positive and negative inertial forces on flotation kinetics was evaluated for various explicit parameters such as particle density, turbulence (energy dissipation), and bubble size and velocity. Obtained theoretical results clearly showed the potential of the particle density to counterbalance the negative effects of the inertial forces. The capability of the positive inertial forces for galena particles (high density) to overcome its negative effect was shown when the general flotation kinetic model was used. Theoretical calculations were further confirmed by experimental bubble loading measurements. It was shown that the inertial forces should not be omitted in any flotation model amidst concerns over the complexity.