Flotability and flotation separation of polymer materials modulated by wetting agents

Hui Wang, Chong-qing Wang, Jian-gang Fu, Guo-hua Gu
Waste Management 2014, 34 (2): 309-15
The surface free energy, surface tension and contact angles were performed to investigate the properties of wetting agents. Adsorption of wetting agents changes wetting behavior of polymer resins. Flotability of polymer materials modulated by wetting agents was studied, and wetting agents change significantly flotability of polymer materials. The flotability decreases with increasing the concentration of wetting agents, and the wetting ability is lignin sulfonate (LS)>tannic acid (TA)>methylcellulose (MC)>triton X-100 (TX-100) (from strong to weak). There is significant difference in the flotability between polymer resins and plastics due to the presence of additives in the plastics. Flotation separation of two-component and multicomponent plastics was conducted based on the flotability modulated by wetting agents. The two-component mixtures can be efficiently separated using proper wetting agent through simple flotation flowsheet. The multicomponent plastic mixtures can be separated efficiently through multi-stage flotation using TA and LS as wetting agents, and the purity of separated component was above 94%, and the recovery was more than 93%.

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