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Flotation rates and zeta potentials of maceral concentrates of bituminous coals

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2015, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 129-137

Zhang, L.; Hower, J.C.; Honaker, R.Q.; Liu, W.; Men, D.


Maceral separation is one possible technique to expand coking coal resources, either by increasing the blending ratio of non- or slightly caking coal or rationally utilizing the coking coal according to the different behaviors of macerals in coking. The success of maceral enrichment for a given coal using flotation is dependent on the differences in flotation kinetic rate among macerals. This paper presents the flotation rates and zeta potentials of the vitrinite-rich and inertiniterich maceral concentrates obtained from six coal samples of different ranks – from high-volatile B bituminous coal with mean random vitrinite reflectance (Rrandom) of 0.64 percent to low-volatile bituminous coal with Rrandom of 1.73 percent – using a float-sink procedure. The flotation results show that vitrinite-rich concentrates can be produced in tap water using froth flotation only with frother for the high-volatile B and A bituminous coal samples, but there was no good performance for the high-volatile C bituminous and medium- to low-volatile bituminous coal samples. The zeta potential results show that froth flotation could probably separate the high-volatile C bituminous coal samples well by adjusting pH, but there was no good performance for the higher-rank coal samples.