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The presence of oil in the wastewater is not only inhibiting the biological degradation of microorganisms in biological wastewater treatment plants (at oil concentrations above 50 mg/l). Oil-water emulsions can be treated by adding of polyelectrolytes. Floc size and shape formed in different solutions may vary depending on the particle interactions, chemical characteristics of the solution, and type of coagulant used. The objectives of this study were to investigate and characterize the morphology of the flocs formed in edible oil-water emulsions in terms of fractal theory. A cationic polyelectrolyte was used for the coagulation, which were conducted by jar test method. Image analysis techniques were used to examine the microscopic images of the flocs and statistically evaluate surface and structural characteristics of the flocs. The analysis of the captured images of the flocs showed that there were a significant number of oil droplets that were trapped at a certain distance from the center of the floc. This is probably due to smaller electrostatic charge at the center for oil droplets to attach. However, as the distance increases from the center of the floc, the number of oil droplets attached on the surface decreases after reaching a maximum. The result revealed that oil droplets, which had diameters in range at 7-9 microns, were attracted to the center of the floc. The reason might be that the amount of sites available on the oil droplet surface matches the size of the sites on the floc surface.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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