Extensive research has been performed on the interaction of dithiocarbonates (xanthate) with a wide variety of substrates. This study the focuses on the interaction of trithiocarbonates (TTC) with pyrite and copper. The mechanism of adsorption of the xanthate is compared to that of the TTC. For the xanthate to adsorb it is necessary for an oxidant to be present, since xanthate adsorbs via charge transfer processes (electrochemical processes). It was found by the use of cyclic voltammetry and contact angle measurements that collector adsorption of the TTC can occur in both oxidising and reducing (thus the absence of an oxidant) conditions. Neither the TTC monomer nor the dimer could be detected on the surface by the use of Raman spectroscopy. The collector species on the surface was the TTC decomposition products namely the thiol or thiolate. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) confirmed that the TTC can interact under oxidising and reducing conditions. EIS showed that the rate of adsorption of the collector species for anodic currents increases relatively to the rate of adsorption for cathodic currents. Different adsorption mechanisms are realised for the different polarisation conditions. It is postulated that the TTC species serves as an intermediate for the adsorption of the thiol or thiolate on the surface, ultimately rendering the surface hydrophobic. Decomposition tests, performed by employing UV/Vis spectroscopy, indicated that the TTC is very unstable between a pH of 4 and 11. The thiol or thiolate however does not readily adsorb onto the substrates (indicated by the EIS measurements). Microflotation tests confirmed the thiolate’s inability to render pyrite hydrophobic. The microflotation tests also indicated that the TTC became less effective in recovering pyrite after it was left to decompose for a couple of hours.
Dissertation (MSc (Metallurgy))--University of Pretoria, 2008.