The purification of copper using the flotation cell

The purification of copper using the flotation cell

ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes:Experiment: The flotation cell

Aim:  To make a copper flotation cell

Materials: basin of water, mixture of sand and powdered copper sulphide, washing powder/dish washing liquid,litmus paper, rubber tube, filter funnel, tray, wooden spoon


  1. Fill the dish with water to about 1cm from the top
  2. Add a handful of sand and copper sulphide  mixture into the water followed by a large spoonful of washing powder/washing liquid
  3. Make sure the solution is alkaline by testing with litmus paper (Red litmus paper turns blue)
  4. Stir the water and sand vigorously with the spoon while blowing air through the mixture using the rubber tube
  5. Allow the froth that overflows to collect into a tray
  6. Filter the froth
  7. Wast the residue with water

Results and Observations

  • Tiny particles of copper are attracted to the froth
  • These can be observed once the froth is filtered and washed


  • Copper sulphide can be concentrated using the flotation process

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