Sodium ethyl xanthate or SEX is typically a yellowish powder or pellet that is soluble in water. It is a xanthate based on the C2 alkyl ethyl alcohol in the sodium salt form.
Chemical application and strengths:
- Sodium ethyl xanthate or SEX is used in mining as a flotation agent. It is used as a collector and xanthate used especially in copper mines.
- It can be used for flotation of various minerals that are activated or hydrophobic and float easily such as lead, cobalt, zinc and nickel. It can form insoluble compounds with these metallic ions.
- Sodium ethyl xanthate is especially important in in froth flotation, where it is used to separate hydrophobic materials from hydrophilic. In mining this is an important operation to recover sulfide ores. For ores such as copper, this process lowers the costs of recovering low grade ores and can save mining companies processing costs.
- SEX is used a highly selective collector and is the strongest among the xanthates. It is favored for flotation of easily floatable or complex sulfide minerals. It is used in such ores in conjunction with vulcanizing agents.
- SEX is also used as precipitant in hydrometallurgical processes such as the refining of zinc electrolyte and as sulfidation promoter of rubber.
- According to a study by Marcel Dekker, SEX works by forming a hydrophobic layer when the polar part of xanthate molecule attaches to the ore particles with the non-polar hydrocarbon part. The particles then rise to the water surface due to air bubbles. Typically on a very small amount of SEX is needed for efficient separation.
- SEX is part of a family of other Xanthates are used in the mining in the recovery of metal sulphides. The efficiency of xanthates as mineral collectors increases with the length of the carbon chain but this results in a decrease in the selectivity.
|Sodium ethyl xanthate %≥||90.0||90.0|
|Free alkali %≤||0.2||0.2|
|Moisture and volatile %≤||4.0||4.0|