Optimization of Nanobubble-Assisted Bunker Oil Flotation from Oil-Wet Sand via Response Surface Methodology (RSM)


Lim Mee Wei(1), Lau Ee Von(2*), Poh Phaik Eong(3)

(1) School of Engineering, Monash University Malaysia, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, 47500 Bandar Sunway, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
(2) School of Engineering, Monash University Malaysia, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, 47500 Bandar Sunway, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
(3) School of Engineering, Monash University Malaysia, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, 47500 Bandar Sunway, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
(*) Corresponding Author


Flotation technology is an effective method for the separation of oil from sand via gas-liquid-solid system. The mechanism of flotation lies in the generation of gas bubble that attaches itself to the hydrophobic particles. Therefore, one of the main parameters which could affect the efficiency of flotation is the bubble size distribution. This research aims to investigate the efficiency of nanobubbles (NBs) in the flotation process to remove high density bunker oil from oil/sand slurry in a laboratory-scale flotation cell. Experiments were carried out using NBs (approximate diameter of 200 nm) generated via ultrasonication for the flotation studies. In this investigation, four different variables including amplitude (sonication power), pH, duration of sonication (min) and input flowrate of NBs (ml/s) were studied. The second order response function was used for obtaining flotation efficiency, and was further optimized using response surface methodology (RSM) to maximize flotation efficiency within the experimentally studied range. The optimum parameters were found to be, 70% amplitude, pH 12, 10 min of flotation and an input flowrate of 57 ml/s to achieve the predicted maximum flotation efficiency of 19.83%. This was in agreement to the experimental results which show an optimum flotation efficiency of 19.98%. The test results indicated that the use of NBs alone provided unsatisfactory flotation. Even though NBs (larger surface area) are expected to increase the bubble-particle attachment and decrease the detachment probabilities, the low buoyancy/low rising velocity of NBs prevents efficient flotation despite the advantages they have. Future studies would include the optimization of bubble size to improve the flotation efficiency


Flotation, nanobubbles, bunker oil, ultrasonication, response surface methodology.

Full Text:



  1. Al-Otoom, A., Allawzi, M., Al- Harahsheh, A. M., Al-Harahsheh, M., Al-Ghbari, R., Al-Ghazo, R., & Al-Saifi, H. (2009). A parametric study on the factors affecting the froth floatation of Jordanian tar sand utilizing a fluidized bed floatator. Energy, 34(9), 1310-1314.
  2. Calgaroto, S., Wilberg, K., & Rubio, J. (2014). On the nanobubbles interfacial properties and future applications in flotation. Minerals Engineering, 60, 33- 40.
  3. Czarnecki, J., Radoev, B., Schramm, L. L., & Slavchev, R. (2005). On the nature of Athabasca Oil Sands. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, 114– 115(0), 53-60. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cis.2004.09. 009
  4. Liu, S., Kawagoe, Y., Makino, Y., & Oshita, S. (2013). Effects of nanobubbles on the physicochemical properties of water: The basis for peculiar properties of water containing nanobubbles. Chemical Engineering Science, 93, 250-256.
  5. Long, J., Drelich, J., Xu, Z., & Masliyah, J. H. (2007). Effect of Operating Temperature on Water‐Based Oil Sands Processing. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, 85(5), 726-738.
  6. Painter, P., Williams, P., & Lupinsky, A. (2010). Recovery of Bitumen from Utah Tar Sands Using Ionic Liquids. Energy & Fuels, 24(9), 5081-5088. doi: 10.1021/ef100765u
  7. Tao, D. (2005). Role of bubble size in flotation of coarse and fine particles— a review. Separation science and technology, 39(4), 741-760.
  8. Uddin, S., Li, Y., Mirnezami, M., & Finch, J. (2012). Effect of particles on the electrical charge of gas bubbles in flotation. Minerals Engineering, 36, 160-167.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/ajche.49688

Article Metrics

Abstract views : 1715 | views : 1383


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ASEAN Journal of Chemical Engineering  (print ISSN 1655-4418; online ISSN 2655-5409) is published by Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Gadjah Mada.