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Fresh bituminous coal was stored in air-/water-oxidation conditions after 20 and 80 days, respectively. FTIR results show that the Hydrophilicity Index (HI) value of air-oxidized coal is higher than that of water-oxidized coal. SEM results show that the surface roughness of water-oxidized coal is higher than that of air-oxidized coal and water-oxidized coal surface has more holes and chips than air-oxidized coal surface. Flotation results show that the floatability of water-oxidized coal is worse than that of air-oxidized coal. The flotation performance of both air-/water-oxidized coals can be improved at larger collector dosages. The air-oxidation processes changed the HI value of coal greater than the water-oxidation processes while the water-oxidation processes changed the surface morphology of coal greater than the air-oxidation processes. Both the changes in HI value and surface roughness of coal determine the flotation behavior of oxidized coal. The changes in the surface morphology of coal particles after oxidation processes may be the primary factor determining the floatability of coal particles while the changes in the HI value of coal particles may be the inferior factor.
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