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Flotation History
May 21, 2018

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In ancient China, the natural hydrophobicity of mineral surfaces was used to purify cinnabar, talc, and other mineral medicines, allowing the mineral fines to float on the water surface and separate from the sinking gangue. When panning gold, the feather oil is used to stick and catch oil-repellent gold and silver fine particles, which are called goose feather scraping. So far, there are still applications. Ming Ming Tian Kai Shuo recorded that when gold and silver workshops were used to recover gold and silver powder from discarded vessels and dust, “the number of drops of oil was counted, and the number of drops of oil was accumulated at the bottom”. It is a method of sorting using differences in surface properties.


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In ancient Greece and Europe there was also evidence of oil and bitumen collecting minerals. In the 18th century, it was known that gas adhering solid particles rose to the surface of the water; in the 19th century, people used gasification (boiled pulp) or bubble flotation graphite produced by the reaction of acid and carbonate minerals. At the end of the 19th century, due to the increasing demand for metals, the resources of coarse-grained lead, zinc, and copper sulphide mines that can be treated by re-election decreased gradually, and fine-grained ore was selected by flotation in Australia, the United States, and some European countries. Provide concentrate for smelting. Initial application of membrane flotation and full oil flotation. In the former, the ore powder is sprinkled on the floating surface of the flotation machine. Hydrophobic minerals are floated on the surface to be recycled. The latter mixes a certain amount of mineral oil in the ore slurry to trap the hydrophobic and oleophilic ore particles and float to the surface of the slurry. .