Frothing Properties of Amine/Frother Combinations

  • Xiang Zhou
  • Yue Hua Tan
  • James A. Finch


Methods to determine frother functions, control of bubble size and froth properties, are now widely used. Some collectors also exhibit frother functions which are less understood. Using a water-air system in a mini-mechanical flotation cell setup, this paper determines bubble size and water overflow rate for three amine collectors: one primary amine (dodecylamine, DDA) and two commercial ether amines (Flotigam® EDA and Flotigam® 2835-2L) and their combination with two common frothers, MIBC (methyl isobutyl carbinol) and PPG 425 (polypropylene glycol, molecule weight 425). Compared to the frothers, the amines were less effective in reducing bubble size, giving larger minimum size and the two commercial amines showed evidence of coalescence at low concentration. In blends, at fixed frother dosage, frother eliminated the coalescence but as amine concentration increased the amines dominated bubble size. Water overflow was a strong function of reagent type. For fixed 1-cm froth depth, PPG 425, Flotigam® 2835-2L and to a lesser extent DDA produced overflow while MIBC and Flotigam® EDA did not. In blends with frother overflow increased except with Flotigam® EDA. Mechanisms are briefly explored. The principal benefit of blending identified is the elimination of coalescence if residual concentration of the two commercial amines is below ca. 10 ppm.


Bubble size Water overflow rate Conventional frothers Amines Frother/amine systems 



The work was conducted under the Chair in Mineral Processing funded through the NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) CRD (Collaborative Research and Development) program sponsored by Vale, Teck, Xstrata Process Support, Barrick Gold, Shell Canada, Corem, SGS Lakefield Research and Flottec. Provision of the ether amine samples and discussions with Vale personnel are gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mining and Materials EngineeringMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada

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