Micro-bubbles are used in electro-flotation (EF) and dissolved air flotation (DAF) for particle separation. The efficiency of these flotation processes depends on the collision of bubble and particle and the collision efficiency is affected by certain parameters with respect to the size and zeta potential of bubble and particle. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor not only the zeta potential of the particle, but also that of the bubble. Gas bubbles are reported to be generally negatively charged in water. In this paper, we report a study performed to measure the zeta potential of bubbles in solutions containing divalent metals and find factors which can produce positively charged bubbles. Calcium and magnesium ions were selected as divalent metal ions because natural water normally contains an appreciable quantity of them. It was found that bubbles are negatively charged in CaCl2 solutions whereas, under certain conditions, they become positively charged in MgCl2. Charge reversal of bubbles was observed above 10-2 M Mg, especially above pH 9. A probable principle that explained the charge reversal could be a combined mechanism with both specific adsorption of hydroxylated species and formation of hydroxide precipitates. Creating solution conditions that can produce positively charged bubbles in flotation methods might make it possible to remove particles using lesser amounts of coagulant or even none at all.

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