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Factors Affecting Ballasted Flocculation Reactions

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Ballasted flocculation represents a relatively new technology that shows promise of bringing improvements to the field of water and wastewater treatment. Ballasted flocculation involves the addition of a ballasting agent (high-density microsand, sp gr = 2.65) to a chemically stabilized and coagulated suspension of particulate solids. Tests were conducted to determine the effect of eight independent parameters on the settling velocity of the resulting floc. Measurements showed settling velocities ranging from approximately 100 m/h for 0.5-mm diameter particles to as high as 380 m/h for particles having effective diameters up to 7 mm. Settling velocities for discrete microsand particles and discrete ballasted flocs were found to fit conventional settling theory with reasonable accuracy. The most important factors contributing to the benefits of ballasted flocculation are the large floc sizes that can be maintained, the greater roundness of the floc particles, and a lower shape factor for the ballasted floc, which all contribute to higher settling rates. Higher settling rates allow for substantially smaller sedimentation units and decreased capital costs.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2003

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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