Friday, 29 November 2013

Exploring the Physics of Flotation

Barbara, Amanda and I arrived back in Falmouth late yesterday afternoon, and 2 hours later I was at CSM's Tremough Campus for the 12th Annual Victor Phillips Memorial Lecture.

Vic Phillips with CSM students, 1984
Anyone passing through CSM between 1972 and the end of the century will remember Dr. Victor Phillips, a larger than life, almost Dickensian, character, whose heart and soul was in CSM.  A hydrometallurgist, he was a friend and colleague throughout my 22 years at Camborne.

Only a week ago, Prof. Jan Cilliers and his impressive Imperial College team presented a number of cutting edge papers at Flotation '13 in Cape Town, showing how new techniques are providing new insights into the physical mechanisms of flotation.

Last night's memorial lecture, A Really Close Look at Flotation,  was presented by Jan, and was a fascinating glimpse of how modern techniques, such as ultra-high speed photography, and Positron Emission Particle Tracking, are showing that how a mineral particle arrives into a flotation froth is not quite how we always envisaged it. The team's exploration of the fundamental physics of flotation is to some extent blue-skies research, but improvements in practical applications are now emerging, which can reap huge economic dividends. The lecture provides the foundation for Jan's keynote, which will be presented in two year's time at Flotation '15.

The lecture was extremely well attended, the main theatre being packed with CSM students and staff, both current and past. Left to right in the photo below are Kathryn Hadler (Imperial College), Nick Wilshaw (Grinding Solutions, Truro), me, Frances Wall (Director, CSM), Jan, Steve barber (CSM) and Patrick Foster (CSM).


And below Jan is pictured with CSM students:



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