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Comparison of adhesion of A. ferrooxidans on different copper sulfides: Surface thermodynamics and extended DLVO theory

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2015, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 121-128

Fu, K.B.; Lin, H.; Chen, S.; Wang, X.F.


We investigated experimentally and theoretically the adhesion behavior of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans (At.f6) to different copper sulfides. The adsorption experiment showed cell densities of 10.74 × 106, 8.06 × 106, 3 × 106, 4.24 × 106 and 2.35 × 106 cells/cm2, respectively, on the surfaces of djurleite, bornite, covellite and chalcopyrite. The order was: djurleite > bornite > covellite > chalcopyrite. The results indicate that A. ferrooxidans has high affinity to adhering to the surfaces of djurleite and bornite in the acidic region. But the thermodynamic approach predicts that there will be no attachment of At.f6 to the surfaces of bornite, covellite and chalcopyrite. This discrepancy is due to the inadequate description of electrostatic interactions. The DLVO approach shows attachment of At.f6 to the surfaces of djurleite, bornite and covellite, and repulsion between At.f6 and chalcopyrite. The DLVO approach can explain the differences of the adhesion of At.f6 to different copper sulfides.