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The grade of useful minerals for ores is usually low. Therefore, it is necessary to achieve enrichment with meeting the industrial smelting standard before smelting. The common mineral enrichment methods include gravity separation, magnetic separation, electric separation, flotation separation and so on. In practical mineral separation, two or more methods are generally adopted together. Taking Meishan iron ore as an example, magnetic separation is for tailings discarding first, and then jig for gravity separation, flotation for desulfurization and magnetic separation for dephosphorization. Flotation is the most promising mineral separating method at present, which achieves mineral separation by making use of the different physical and chemical properties of a mineral surface. Flotation process is all finished in flotation cells. Among all flotation cells, single tank flotation cells are commonly used. It not only plays a role as a container for reaction of slurry and reagents but also has the functions of air inflation, agitation, circulation and concentrate foam transmission.
Reagents are used to change the hydrophobicity of mineral surface to make mineral particles attached to the foam surface. Then as the foam rises, it will be scraped out by the scrapper, finishing the separation of useful minerals and gangue minerals. That is how flotation works. During the operation of single tank flotation cells, air inflation effect is needed in order to complete the efficient separation of minerals and improve the recovery rate. When enough air is filled with the slurry, foams with suitable size and sufficient quantity will occur and disperse evenly in the slurry. Meanwhile, agitation effect is needed for the uniform distribution of foams in slurry, full solution and dispersion of indissolvable drugs, and a certain initial kinetic energy the slurry requires reacting with reagents. Besides, in order to strengthen the contact probability of slurry and foams and improving the recovery rate of minerals, it is necessary that single tank flotation operation has some circulation functions on the slurry, enabling it to pass the inflation and agitation devices repeatedly. And stable foam layer needs to be formed by single tank flotation cells, for the sake of second enrichment of flotation foams and higher recovery rate of concentrate products. In addition, single tank flotation cells should be capable of continuous feeding and be discharging with the purpose of continuous operation and adjustment.
Single tank flotation cells has big inspiratory capacity but small energy consumption. Besides, each tank has triple functions of air absorption, slurry absorption, and flotation so it can form the flotation circuit itself without any auxiliary equipment and with horizontal configuration, easy for procedure change.