The present study has been devoted to bubble–curved solid surface interaction in water, which is critical to the separation of suspended particles by air flotation. For this purpose, two particular stages of the interaction (collision and attachment) have been examined visually using high-speed photography in a laboratory-scale flotation column. The effects of the surface material and surfactant concentration on these two stages have been also studied quantitatively. The considered solid materials are the cleaned glass as hydrophilic surface and Teflon as hydrophobic surface. The experimental results show that the presence of surfactant significantly affects the collision and rebound process of a gas bubble, while there is no obvious effect of the surface material on the rebound process. An increase in surfactant concentration has been observed to suppress the rebound number and maximal distance of the bubble from the surface. Moreover, the three-phase contact time of the bubble is a strong function of the surfactant concentration and surface hydrophobicity as well as of the bubble diameter. Another important finding is that the bubble attachment is only observed at the hydrophobic Teflon surface below the surfactant CMC (critical micelle concentration). Results of this study are relevant for deep understanding of the attachment mechanism and to determine the proper conditions for a selective flotation process.

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