Percentage of high-rank coal with low content of ash, moisture, and sulfur in total coal production output is low. Most of the produced coal has a low quality (lignite, bituminous coal: long-flame and fiery). Under increasing requirements for ecological cleanness of coal, the efficient use of coal products is only possible after improvement of their processing properties. The authors discuss the enhancement of flotation efficiency of low-rank coal using the mechanism of physisorption of a collecting agent in particle – bubble attachment. It is explained why the yield of concentrate with low ash content increases as a result of combination of collectors having different physical properties. It is shown that the surface activity of a heteropolar agent relative to the gas – liquid interface and the adsorption density of the agent govern its collecting properties. Based on the recovery – surface activity relationship, the correlation is found between the collecting activity of a chemical compound and the structure of its molecules. The combination of the collectors with different surface activity enables adjusting collectability and selectivity of the blend. The physisorption mechanism of collectors can be a framework for developing recommendations on modification of concentrate yield and ash content, and on selection of optimized ratios of surface activities of miscible collectors relative to the gas – liquid interface.
The article presents one of the new approaches to theoretical assessment of collecting ability of reagents. The efficiency of reagents-collectors with different chemical composition used for flotation of coking coals was studied. A comparative assessment of the flotation activity of kerosene, mineral oil, thermal gas oil, KETGOL and FLOTEK is given. The criteria of collecting activity of the above reagents-collectors for coal sludge flotation were specified. A correlation was established between the indicators of coal sludge flotation by the above reagents and their physical parameters. It is shown that the rate of spreading over water surface can characterize the flotation activity of reagents. Based on dependence of the collecting activity of a reagent on its rate of spreading along the “gas – liquid” interface and surface pressure, the main approaches to determining the structure and composition of molecules of an effective flotation collector can be determined. A new concept of the function performed by a physically sorbed collector in the elementary act of flotation and a criterion for the flotation activity of reagents used in coal sludge beneficiation are proposed. It is shown that the collector used in coal flotation, in addition to hydrophobizing the surface of the extracted particles, should reduce the induction time and remove the kinetic constraint on formation of a flotation aggregate.