A review of temperature-responsive polymers as novel reagents for solid-liquid separation and froth flotation of minerals

Wei Sung Ng, Luke A. Connal, Elizaveta Forbes, George V. Franks*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Over the past few decades, the study of temperature-responsive polymers has unlocked a vast array of potential applications in various research areas, including biological systems, wastewater treatment, and gel actuation. These dynamic materials are able to exhibit reversible hydrophilic-hydrophobic transitions in a sharp and rapid manner, under a change in temperature in aqueous solutions. This property can be used to reversibly change particle-particle interactions between attractive and repulsive states. Recent studies have demonstrated that the temperature-responsive properties of these materials can be utilised to enhance water recovery and increase solids concentration in dewatering processes, as well as improve the recovery of minerals in flotation operations. This review explores the nature of temperature-responsive polymers, and the mechanisms behind their use as flocculants in solid-liquid separation and tuneable collector/depressants in froth flotation. The polymers and minerals investigated will be considered in detail, as well as the factors influencing the dewatering and flotation capabilities of thermo-responsive materials. The challenges and considerations in the development of new temperature-responsive polymers and their potential applications in minerals processing will also be discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)144-159
    Number of pages16
    JournalMinerals Engineering
    Volume123
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

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