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Adsorption of PEO/PPO triblock co-polymers and wetting of coal
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The adsorption characteristics of PEO/PPO/PEO triblock co-polymers on coal were investigated using surface tension and contact angle measurements. Although these surfactants have been widely used as wetting agents, it was observed that they increased the hydrophobicity of coal at concentrations below about 10-6 M. Surface tension studies were carried out to explain the reasons for this behavior. The surface tension versus concentration profiles displayed three distinct regions. In region I, surface tension decreased linearly and monomers were proposed to be the dominant species. This region extended to a surfactant concentration of about 10-6 M. In region II, a transition region between regions I and III, dimers, trimers, etc., were considered to form. In region III, micelles formed and surface tension was independent of concentration. The concentration at which monomers associate to form dimers, etc., is referred to as the critical association concentration (cac). The contact angle of coal increased when concentration was raised from low values to the cac. It decreased when the reagent concentration was above the cac. Finally, at concentrations above the cmc, the wetting of coal was complete and contact angle was zero.