The method relates to particle separation from a feed stream. The feed stream is injected directly into the froth zone of a vertical flotation column in the presence of a counter-current reflux stream. A froth breaker generates a reflux stream and a concentrate stream, and the reflux stream is injected into the froth zone to mix with the interstitial liquid between bubbles in the froth zone. Counter-current flow between the plurality of bubbles and the interstitial liquid facilitates the attachment of higher hydrophobicity particles to bubble surfaces as lower hydrophobicity particles detach. The height of the feed stream injection and the reflux ratio may be varied in order to optimize the concentrate or tailing stream recoveries desired based on existing operating conditions.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to the employer-employee relationship of the Government to the inventors as U.S. Department of Energy employees and site-support contractors at the National Energy Technology Laboratory.