Nanobubble generation and its applications in froth flotation (part III): Specially designed laboratory scale column flotation of phosphate

Maoming Fan, Daniel Tao, Rick Honaker, Zhenfu Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Froth flotation is used widely for upgrading raw phosphate. The flotation recovery of coarse phosphate (-1.18+0.425 mm) is much lower than that achieved on the -0.425+0.15 mm size fraction. Enhanced recovery of coarse phosphate particles is of great economic and environmental importance for phosphate industry. In this investigation, four different phosphate samples were aquired, characterized and tested in a specially designed laboratory-scale flotation column. Significant recovery improvement of coarse phosphate flotation was achieved using cavitation-generated nanobubble though its effects differ among the four testing phosphate samples. The laboratory-scale flotation column test results indicate that nanobubble increased P2O5 recovery by up to 10∼30 for a given Acid Insoluble (A.I.) rejection, depending on the characteristic of phosphate samples. The improvement effect of nanobubble on the hard-to-float particles was more significant than that on easy-to-float particles, especially at lower collector dosages. Nanobubbles reduced the collector dosage by 1/3 to 1/2. Nanobubbles almost doubled the coarse phosphate flotation rate constant and increased the flotation selectivity index by up to 25.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-338
Number of pages22
JournalMining Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research (FIPR), The Center for Advanced Separation Technologies (CAST) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos.50921002 and 90510002) for the financial support. Special thanks to the Director of CAST, Dr. Roe-Hoan Yoon and the project manager of FIPR, Dr. Patrick Zhang for their valuable advice and support. Special thanks are given to CF Industry Inc and Mosaic Company for supplying specimens and ArrMaz Custom Chemicals Inc. for providing chemicals employed in this study.

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • cavitation
  • flotation kinetics
  • froth flotation
  • nanobubble
  • phosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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