Application of the thin-layer wicking (TLW) technique on powdered minerals is useful for characterizing their surfaces. Albite (Nafeldspar) and orthoclase (K-feldspar) are feldspar minerals which are frequently found in the same matrix. Despite similarities in their physicochemical properties, separation of these minerals from each other by flotation is generally possible in the presence of monovalent salts such as NaCl. Both albite and orthoclase exhibit the same microflotation properties and rather close electrokinetic profiles in the absence of salt. In this study, contact angles of albite and orthoclase determined by the TLW technique yielded close values in the absence and presence of amine collector. While the calculated surface energies and their components determined using contact angle data reveal that the energy terms remain farther apart in the absence of the collector, the differences narrow down at collector concentrations where full flotation recoveries are obtained. However, the effect of addition of NaCl on contact angles and surface free energy components at constant amine concentration indicates that albite is significantly affected by salt addition, whereas orthoclase remains marginally affected. This interesting finding is explained on the basis of ion-exchange properties, the stability of the interface, flotation data, and zeta potential data in the presence of NaCl. (c) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.