The U.S. Bureau of Mines is developing a process for removing metals from mining and mineral processing waste streams by precipitation. The precipitation process is accelerated by flocculation when a high- molecular-weight polymer is added. Infrared (ir) studies were performed on zinc hydroxide [zn(oh)2], copper hydroxide [cu(oh)2], and zinc sulfide (zns) flocculated with both nonionic and anionic polyacrylamide (pam) and polyethylene oxide (peo). The ir data were compared with general trends in the performance of the polymers observed during flocculation. These studies will help to understand the bonding between the precipitate and polymer and indicate the effectiveness of a flocculant for dewatering. Two types of bands showed up on the ir spectra; one type described the interlayer water of the flocs, and the other described the organic bonds of the polymers. A general decrease in the areas of the three water bands, hydroxyl (o-h) stretching (3,200-3,500 cm-1), water bending (1,610- 1,630 cm-1), and torsional oscillations (600-700 cm-1), indicate interlayer water being driven off, which is a favorable condition in flocculation. Shifts in the o-h stretching band indicate water bridging between the precipitate and polymer. Shifts in the amine (n-h) deformation, carbon-nitrogen (c-n) stretch band (1,600-1,610 cm-1) indicate the amine group of the pam is involved in the bonding. Evidence suggests that ether oxygen of peo is also involved in the bonding process.