Effect of dissolved gas on the force between silica and glass in aqueous ocyadecyltrimetylammonium chloride solutions

J. Zhang, R. H. Yoon, M. Mao, W. A. Ducker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Froth flotation relies on an attractive force between a particle and a bubble to selectively extract particles from a mixture. The range and magnitude of this attractive force is an area of ongoing investigation. We describe measurements of the effect of dissolved gases on the long-range attractive surface forces between a silica plate and a glass sphere in aqueous octadecyltrimethylammonium chloride (C18TACl) solutions. The measurements follow on the work of Sakamoto et al (2002) who have concluded that long-range interactions occur in air-equilibrated surfactant solutions but not in degassed solutions. In the present work, we have measured attractive forces that have a much larger in magnitude than the expected van der Waals force in solutions that were degassed by the same procedure used by Sakamoto et al (2002). We find that the forces are most attractive at 5 × 10-6 M18TACl, which is close to the charge compensation point (ccp) of the glass sphere. At this concentration, the attractive force decays exponentially with distance and the decay length is 34 in air-saturated solution, and 38 nm in degassed solutions. In both air-equilibrated and degassed solution, the force is quite sensitive to the concentration of surfactant. The force is also sensitive to the pH. We note that our degassing procedure increases the pH of the solution from about 5.7 to 6.6 (presumably by removal of dissolved CO2). We find that the forces measured in degassed solution can be reproduced by using a solution that was equilibrated in air, then the pH was increased by addition of NaOH. Therefore, we conclude that the main effect of degassing in our experiments is to raise the pH. We show that the range and magnitude of the attractive force decreases in the presence of salt (NaCl). This suggests an electrostatic mechanism for the attraction. Possible mechanisms for the attractive force are examined, including the mechanisms that rely on a patchy coverage of surfactant on the silica surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCentenary of Flotation Symposium - Proceedings
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2005
EventCentenary of Flotation Symposium - Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Duration: Jun 6 2005Jun 9 2005

Publication series

NameAustralasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Publication Series


OtherCentenary of Flotation Symposium
CityBrisbane, QLD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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