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5th International Flotation Conference

Cape Town

29 March 2012

A J Banks Travel Bursar Pablo Brito-Parada reports from the 5th International Flotation Conference (Flotation'11), organised by Minerals Engineering International (MEI) and held in Cape Town, South Africa, 14-17 November 2011.

The Flotation 2011 conference consisted of two parts; the 'Fundamentals Symposium' and the 'Applications Symposium', so all the flotation basics (physics, chemistry, scale-up) and the current plant practice (operation, new processes and technology, control and optimisation) were covered. In consequence, it was a really good opportunity to learn about the current trends in almost every aspect of flotation.

The keynote speakers for each symposium were Prof Jim Finch (McGill University) and Dr Dan Alexander (CEO of JKTech Pty Ltd), respectively and they gave some rousing talks.

I was fortunate enough to be able to present both a poster and an oral presentation. My poster 'A model of froth motion to test flotation cell crowder designs – experimental validation with overflowing 2D foam' looked at how a numerical model was validated with experimental data and shown to accurately predict the velocity and trajectory of the bubbles. This has applications to flotation cell design, in particular to study the effect of industrial crowders.

My oral presentation was '3D modelling and experimental studies of flotation cell configurations for a two-phase system'. This showed the effect of launders in flotation cells, investigated through simulations and laboratory experiments, with close agreement between the numerical and experimental results. This had not been possible before, so this work represents the first implementation of a 3D model for foam flow and liquid drainage for flotation foams.

My work was very well received and I had the opportunity to discuss further research ideas with well known flotation experts from around the world.

Attending this conference has, without doubt, positively impacted my career. I got some new ideas and discussed them with colleagues from different universities, which may lead to future collaboration. An advantage of attending such a specialised conference is that it is always interesting to follow the progress made over the last two years in different aspects of flotation, and since there is always a good turn-out from different research groups focussing on this process, it is also great for networking.

My group has also benefited from my attendance at Flotation 2011. We always have a round of presentations from those attending a conference, so everyone gets to know what was presented. I've also shared the conference proceedings with others in the group.

Pablo Brito-Parada
Imperial College London

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