Understanding the interfacial properties of persistent froth

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Froth flotation is widely used in fuel and mineral processing plants to separate value commodities into concentrates from wastes. Persistent froth in the flotation concentrates presents operational challenges in downstream processing. For example, in the sumps where flotation concentrates are pumped to the dewatering process, the liquid level sensors often fail to detect the persistent froth which may lead to flooding of the processing area or even the entire plant. In dewatering to separate the solids/oils in the concentrate from water, persistent froth significantly reduces both thickening and filtration efficiencies. Froth in wet stockpiles of the solids product can also cause sudden collapse of stockpiles, a major safety concern. As a result, persistent froth in fuel and mineral processing plants not only presents operational challenges that decrease the plant productivity, but also poses environmental risks through “loss of containment”.

The objective of this project is to understand the interfacial properties of persistent froth. Persistent froth existing in coal preparation plants, copper processing plants and oil extraction plants will be simulated in the laboratory first and then the interactions occurring at solid/liquid/gas interfaces will be determined through advanced measurement and modelling. The research outcomes will guide other researchers within the same team to develop novel technologies to destabilize persistent froth. The PhD candidate will participate in trainings and plant trials in three countries.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Professor Yongjun Peng

School of Chemical Engineering

Email: yongjun.peng@uq.edu.au

Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of froth flotation would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of chemical engineering or resource processing and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of applied chemistry and surface science is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 4, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process