Ultrafine quartz flocculation: Part I. System characterization and variables selection
Abstract A characterization study was performed to verify the more relevant physicochemical properties for quartz flocculation with polyacrylamide, as well as to define which variables should be further investigated regarding this flocculation system. Polyacrylamide was evaluated through molecular weight, radius of gyration, and infrared spectrometry. A natural quartz sample was investigated regarding its particle size distribution, specific surface area, mineralogical and chemical composition. The zeta potential of quartz with flocculant and surfactant was also analyzed. The results indicated that the quartz had high purity and particle sizes between 38 and 10 µm, which was within the intended particle size range; the flocculant presented a suitable molecular weight for the proposed flocculation system. Based on literature, nine variables were chosen to be investigated in Part II of this study: flocculant and surfactant concentration, flocculant and surfactant conditioning time, flocculation addition time, agitation intensity, pH of the suspension, flocculation time, and solid concentration.