As part of the U.S. Bureau of Mines' efforts to improve the efficiency of the United States' domestic minerals industry, the Bureau has developed a rapid froth flotation system which divides flotation into two discrete unit operations: bubble-particle attachment and bubble-pulp separation. A modified bubble-injected hydrocyclone developed by the Bureau of Mines was used as the bubble- particle attachment unit which mixed a bubble slurry with an ore slurry under highly turbulent conditions. Then the mixture immediately flowed into a relatively quiescent froth separation unit where the bubbles quickly separated from the ore pulp. A shallow- depth froth separator was used to minimize the rising distance required to recover even the smallest size bubbles (100 um) and to quickly recover the mineral laden bubbles. The tailings pulp only remained in the froth separator long enough to recover the bubbles and then exited through the conical bottom. Combining these two units, a rapid flotation system was formed that successfully floated silica from phosphate in one-ninth of the retention time for conventional mechanical cells and floated coal from ash in one- eighteenth of the retention time for conventional mechanical cells. The hydrodynamics of the rapid flotation system along with fundamental parameters for scale-up are presented in this paper.
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