Studying bubble-particle interactions by zeta potential distribution analysis
Over a decade ago, Xu and Masliyah pioneered an approach to characterize the interactions between particles in dynamic environments of multicomponent systems by measuring zeta potential distributions of individual components and their mixtures. Using a Zetaphoremeter, the measured zeta potential distributions of individual components and their mixtures were used to determine the conditions of preferential attachment in multicomponent particle suspensions. The technique has been applied to study the attachment of nano-sized silica and alumina particles to sub-micron size bubbles in solutions with and without the addition of surface active agents (SDS, DAH and DF250). The degree of attachment between gas bubbles and particles is shown to be a function of the interaction energy governed by the dispersion, electrostatic double layer and hydrophobic forces. Under certain chemical conditions, the attachment of nano-particles to sub-micron size bubbles is shown to be enhanced by in-situ gas nucleation induced by hydrodynamic cavitation for the weakly interacting systems, where mixing of the two individual components results in negligible attachment. Preferential interaction in complex tertiary particle systems demonstrated strong attachment between micron-sized alumina and gas bubbles, with little attachment between micron-sized alumina and silica, possibly due to instability of the aggregates in the shear flow environment.
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