Contact-angle measurements on coal particles from solidification-front experiments

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 74, No. 836, 1981

E.I. VARGHA-BUTLER, M.R. SOULARD and A.W. NEUMANN, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, H.HAMZA, Western Research Laboratory, CANMET, Energy, Mines and Resources Canada, Edmonton, Alberta

The determination of surface tensions and contact angles of coal particles is of great interest for coal beneficiation processes such as froth flotation and oil agglomeration and for the inclusion of coal particles into oil droplets as a means of enriching the fuel.Methods for contact-angle measurements on small irregularly shaped solid particles have not been available in the past. Therefore, we recently developed a novel technique to determine contact angles and surf ace tensions of coal particles. Two types of bituminous and one type of subbituminous coal particles have been tested. The technique used is called the freezing-front technique and it considers the behaviour of the test particles (in the range of 20-250 pm) at the solidification front of carefully selected, well-defined solidifying melts (matrix materials) such as thymol, biphenyl, naphthalene, salol and 2-phenyl phenol.The results show that the technique works well, providing quantitative and detailed information on the wettability of coal particles. The sensitivity of the method is so high that a difference in contact angle of approximately 4 degrees between the smaller and the larger particles is clearly registered.
Keywords: Coal processing, Contact-angle measurements, Solidification front, Surface tensions, Froth flotation, Oil agglomeration, Freezing-front technique.