An Electrostatic Explanation of the Phenomenon of Flotation

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THE explanation of the flotation processes with the aid of the cataphoretic and electroendosmotic potentials has failed completely. These potentials play an important part at a distance from the geometrical interface of the phase only.1 There are, however, suggestions in the literature2 that ideal chemical electrodes should have a positive electrostatic potential in water and the dielectrics a negative one. This suggestion has important consequences. Emulsions of dielectrics in water will wet unattackable electrodes immersed in water but not attackable electrodes which are coated with dielectric oxides (hydroxides) in water. The wetting must, however, reduce the positive charge of the unattackable electrode, and it is expected that the wetting will not take place on attackable electrodes coated with a dielectric hydroxide, as for example, zinc. This is actually observed.

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  1. 1

    Freundlich, H., Ettisch, G., Zeit. für phys. Chem., 116, 401–419; 1925.

  2. 2

    Kamienski, B., Zeit. für phys. Chem., 138, 345; 1928: 145, 48: 1929: 147, 288; 1930: Przemyst chemiczny, 201; 1931.

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KAMIENSKI, B. An Electrostatic Explanation of the Phenomenon of Flotation. Nature 129, 59–60 (1932) doi:10.1038/129059c0

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