Interaction of sodium ions with feldspar surfaces and its effect on the selective separation of na- and k-feldspars
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K-feldspar and Na-feldspar exhibit similar mineralogical, chemical and surface properties. Froth flotation is known to be the only technique to enable their separation. Our earlier studies revealed a good selectivity in the presence of K+ and to a larger extent with Na+ ions. In this context, in order to further identify the role of Na+ ions in the selective separation of these minerals, ion selective electrodes were employed to determine the released Na and K ions released from albite and microcline into the solution and those adsorbed ions onto the mineral surfaces. Adsorption isotherms in feldspars/inorganic systems were constructed and the regions representing ion exchange and ion adsorption isotherms delineated. The mechanism of selective separation was elaborated on the basis of micro-flotation, solubility, adsorption and zeta potential measurements.