Entrapment and Flotation of Matte in Molten Slags

The slag removed from the reverberatory furnaces of copper smelters contains significant copper values. A serious financial loss is involved, as further recovery operations are not normally carried out. This paper describes the factors affecting physical transport of matte into slag by gas bubbles, and the subsequent entrapment and flotation of matte drops. Three distinct patterns of transport behaviour have been identified from studies of a number of liquid/liquid systems, including liquid metal and liquid matte systems. A theoretical approach is proposed to explain these behaviour patterns, and to predict transport and entrapment behaviour in matte/slag systems. The concepts of "Film Coefficient" and "Flotation Coefficient" are introduced. The effects of smelting process variables on the physical loss of copper matte in slag are also discussed.
Keywords: copper, copper, Matte Grade, McGill University, photomicrograph, Silicate Slags, flotation, Phase, Slag, Slags, Systems, transport
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