Waste management (New York, N.Y.)
This paper proposes the use of factorial experimental design as a standard experimental method in the application of froth flotation to plastic separation instead of the commonly used OVAT method (manipulation of one variable at a time). Furthermore, as is common practice in minerals flotation, the parameters of the kinetic model were used as process responses rather than the recovery of plastics in the separation products. To explain and illustrate the proposed methodology, a set of 32 experimental tests was performed using mixtures of two polymers with approximately the same density, PVC and PS (with mineral charges), with particle size ranging from 2 to 4 mm. The manipulated variables were frother concentration, air flow rate and pH. A three-level full factorial design was conducted. The models establishing the relationships between the manipulated variables and their interactions with the responses (first order kinetic model parameters) were built. The Corrected Akaike Information Criterion was used to select the best fit model and an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to identify the statistically significant terms of the model. It was shown that froth flotation can be used to efficiently separate PVC from PS with mineral charges by reducing the floatability of PVC, which largely depends on the action of pH. Within the tested interval, this is the factor that most affects the flotation rate constants. The results obtained show that the pure error may be of the same magnitude as the sum of squares of the errors, suggesting that there is significant variability within the same experimental conditions. Thus, special care is needed when evaluating and generalizing the process. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Year of publication: 2017