Process optimization is one of the most important activities in todays competitive industries. the rather high cost of research and development has necessitated the development of experimental methods by which the factors affecting processes
could be determined with minimum number of experiments. Over the last two decades, various types of experimental designs have been used. Among the different methods of experimental design such as complete and partial factorial and Latin squares design, the Taguchi method has found wide applications in some industrial divisions because of its comprehensive nature. In this paper, the laboratory scale flotation of the Sarcheshmeh copper ore which mainly consists of chalcocite was studied using the Taguchi method. The effects of seven factors namely collectors, Z11 (Xanthate) and R407 (Methyl isoboutyl carbonyl), frothers, pine oil and A65 (Polypropylene glycol), particle size, pH and flotation time were investigated. In addition to a significant reduction in cost and time of experimentation, the results indicated that a 5% increase in copper recovery could be obtained if all the factors are tested at their high experimental levels, as suggested by the Taguchi method. The optimal flotation time was also found to be 11 minutes.


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