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E L S E V I E R IMwder Te c hnol ogy 96 i I 9 9 8 ) 26?

- 274
POWDER
TECHNOLOGY
Pilot-plant studies of non-steady-state continuous sedimentation:
hydrodynamics and solids distribution profiles
M. Mufi i z, H. Berthi aux, A. Gutidrrez, J.L. Bue no *
Deport ment q/ Chemi cal Kn,,ineerin? and t:'m'ironmenlal Te~ hnolo)'. Fg*cullv q/' Chenlist O, l /niver.vily t/ ()wedo. aYda .lulidn ( Vaveria ~/H.
E ".?071 OYicd~. Spain
Recei ved 15 . lanuar 3 Iq97: r evi sed 22 Sept ember 1997
Abstract
A sedimentation-flocculation pilot plant has been designed and built, capable of operating under continuous anti discontinuous conditions,
incorporating a system to detect solids concentration proliles throughout the settler using electrical conductivity, and an automatic control
device, supported by suitable computer equipment with its own software. The hydrodynamic behaviour of the continuous thickener has been
studied through transient-response techniques. Results of experiments carried out with mineral suspensions m continuous operation are
presented here. 1998 Elsevier-Science S.A. All rights reserved.
Kevu'ords: Cont i nuous s edi ment at i on: P i l o t pl anl s: Nolids c~mcenlrafion profi l es: Tr ansi cnl r egm] c: El ect r i cal conduct i x i l y
1. I n t r o d u c t i o n
Sedi ment at i on is one of lhe most c ommonl y used pr oce-
dures for s ol i d- l i qui d separ at i on, and const i t ut es one of thc
si mpl est oper at i ons in i ndust ri al pr ocesses for r ecover y or
wat er r emoval .
Occas i onal l y, cri t i cal si t uat i ons may occur dur i ng i ndus-
trial sedi ment at i on or sl udge wast ewat er t reat ment , whi ch
usual l y l ead to poor t hi ckeni ng a n d / o r i neffi ci ent cl ari fi ca-
tion. In the case of act i vat ed sl udge in was t ewat er t reat ment ,
t hese si t uat i ons t ake place: due to modi f i cat i ons in the set t l i ng
char act er i st i cs of bi osol i ds, and due to changes in the hydrau-
lic l oad in pl ant pract i ce, go pr event or di mi ni sh t hese unde-
si r abl e si t uat i ons, desi gn i mpr ovement and oper at i on cont rol
st r at egi es must he eval ual ed [ I 1.
The measur ement of sol i ds di st r i but i on seems Io be part i c
ul ar l y i mpor t ant in t hese si t uat i ons, ei t her on an i ndust ri al or
l abor at or y scal e. The l ack of a conveni ent t echni que, capabl e
o f measur i ng sol i ds concent r at i on, has been one of the reasons
for the sl ow devel opment of the st udy of t hi ckeni ng phenom-
ena, es peci al l y in cont i nuous oper at i ons.
A met hod based on conducl i vi t y, whi ch can be appl i ed to
ot her sysl ems apart fl' om :~eparative sedi ment at i on, has been
used to compl ement some pr ecedi ng t echni ques l ot measur -
ing sol i ds concent r at i on 12 l- Some aut hor s have devel oped
the conduct i vi t y measur ement t echni que at the l abor at or y
* Cor r es pondi ng aut hor. Tel. : + 34 S 511:) 3444. F a x : + 34 8 510 3434.
0032- 5910/ 98/ $19. t ) 0 :C 1998 FAsevicr Sci ence S.A. Al l righl~ reserved.
P 1 1 S 0 0 3 2 - 5 9 I O( 9 7 ) 0 3 3 8 4 - ( ~
scal e 13,41, and we have pr ef er r ed this pr ocedur e to t hose
based on el ect r i cal capaci t y or t urbi di t y. The s e di me nt a t i on-
l l occul at i on pi l ot pl ant descr i bed in this paper has been put
i nl o oper at i on to under t ake the st udy of cont i nuous t hi ckener s
in thc non- st at i onar y r egi me 151.
2. Pi l ot - pl ant de s c r i pt i o n
2. I . A p p a r a l u s
A s edi ment at i on- f l occul at i on pi l ot pl ant has been desi gned
and built, a schemat i c di agr am bei ng pr ovi ded in Fi g. I. Its
mai n el ement is the sedi ment at i on chamber , consi st i ng of a
Per spex cyl i ndr i cal set t l er 3.5 m high and 0.25 m in di amet er ,
with cent ral l' eed and under f l ow, and per i pher al over f l ow.
In or der to avoi d i nt er f er ences, a rake mechani sm run by a
var i abl e- speed rate mot or has been i ncor por at ed in an unusual
way, coaxi al to l he coni cal bot t om of the cyl i nder .
The feed di st r i but or consi st s of a 0.05 m i nt ernal di amet er
and 1.5 m hi gh t ube, and can be s ubmer ged to di f f er ent dept hs
resi de the settler. The feed is ci r cul at ed fl-om the mai n feed
t ank t hr ough a st eady- head t ank to mai nt ai n a const ant feed
r a t e .
Three furt her t anks hol d fl occul ant , aci d a n d / o r base in
or der lo mai nt ai n the feed pH at Ihe r equi r ed val ues. Feed
sl urry is pumped from the feed t ank to the head t ank by means
268 M. Muf i t z et al. / Po wd e r Tecl mof ogv 96 (199H) 267 274
I
I .
t I
+1
t
~ o ~ FI6 F7
Fig. I. Fl ow di a gr a m ci r cui t of the s e di me nt a t i on- l l oc c ul a t i ol l pi l ot pl ant .
F1, r ake me c ha ni s m; F2, under t l ow was t e wdve: F3. t mder l l ~w r ecycl i ng
val ve 1; F4. under f l ow r ecycl i ng val ve 11: F5, over l t o' a wast e xal xc: [:7. l ap
wa l e r val ve: FS, head t aqk val ve: Fg. under f l ow pump: F IO. ["eed pump: F I 1.
base pump: F I2, aci d pump; F I 3, f l occul ant pmnp: F I4. feed l al l k st i rrer:
FI S, head t ank st i rrer: 1716. I l occul ant t ank st i rrer: 117, pi t el ecl l odc: 1:18.
feed r esi st ance: FI 9, l emper at ur e el ect r ode: F20. conduct i vi t y el ect r ode
s ys t em: 1, s edi ment at i on t ank: 2, mai n l ccd t ank: ;. st eady- head t ank; 4.
[ t occul ant t ank: 5, aci d t ank: 6 base t ank.
of a cent r i f ugal pump, whi l e the under f l ow is drown of f by a
per i st al t i c pump. Di aphr agm pumps are used for Il occul ant ,
aci d and base addi t i on.
Al l the i nl et and out l et fl ows are cont r ol l ed by pneumat i c
val ves. Addi t i onal l y, in or der to avoi d possi bl e over f l ows,
the pi l ot set t l er is equi pped wi t h a doubl e l i qui d- l evel cont rol
syst em in the feed tank and in the over f l ow vessel .
2.:?. Measuri ng equi pment
The over f l ow rate is measur ed by a st ai nl ess- st eel vent uri
and a pr essur e t r ansducer lk)llowing t he pressure dr op
t hr oughout the tube. The under f l ow rate is cal cul at ed by t i m-
i ng a measur ed vol ume.
The f eed t emper at ur e is mai nt ai ned const ant by means of
a r esi st ance heat er pl aced i nsi de the st ock t ank, act i vat ed by
a di gi t al cont r ol l er and a t emper at ur e el ect r ode s ubmer ged in
the head feed tank.
The pH is measur ed by the el ect r ode si t uat ed in the same
f eed t ank and cont r ol l ed by addi ng aci d or base to the i nl et
sl urry.
51 conduct i vi t y el ect r odes are di st r i but ed al ong the 3.5 m
hei ght of the sedi ment at i on t ank, bei ng pos i t i oned di amet r i -
cal l y opposi t e each ot her ever y 0.05 m from the bot t om up
to 2 m hi gh, and t hen ever y O. I 0 m fl)r the r emai ni ng el ec-
t rodes, except i ng tl!le t wo at the top, whi ch are pl aced at 3.30
and 3.45 m high. 32 of t hese el ect r odes are si mul t aneousl y
oper at i ve, and used to measur e the sol i ds concent r at i on pro-
files, the posi t i on of the oper at i ve el ect r odes bei ng changed
dependi ng on the exper i ment al r equi r ement s.
2.3, Aut omat i c control
In or der to cont rol and aut omat e t he oper at i on, the pi l ot
pl ant is r egul at ed by a cent r al i zed cont r ol unit consi st i ng of
a PC- compat i bl e comput er and a fitted i nt erface. The syst em
is abl e to run under di scont i nuous and cont i nuous condi t i ons.
and in open and cl osed ci r cui t ( r ecycl i ng of the undcr l l ow
a n d / o r over f l ow ).
The f unct i oni ng of the di f f er ent component s of the equi p-
ment ( F) det er mi nes the oper at i on mode. The i nt er f ace and
the soft ware enabl e the syst em to be cont r ol l ed and pr ocess
all the i nf or mat i on dat a in the syst em.
The comput er pr ogr amme was wri t t en in Qui ck- Bas i c lan-
~uaec . . . . . and desi gned in such a way t hat each var i abl e wor ks
separ at el y or in aut omat i c mode.
Thi s aut omat i c mode consi st s of di fferent gr aphi c screens,
whi ch arc ei t her i nf or mat i ve or i nt er act i ve, and so cont rol
dat a can be i nt r oduced. Fi g. 2 shows a schemat i c di agr am ol
the comput er pr ogr amme, compos ed of the mai n pr ogr amme
and the di f f er ent subr out i nes whi ch make up the i ndi vi dual
s c r e e n s .
The first screen of the aut omat i c cont r ol is the el ect r ode
cal i br at i on mode, whi ch is des cr i bed in det ai l bel ow. Af t er
per f or mi ng or r eadi ng the si gnal of the last cal i br at i on, an
i nf or mat i ve char t about the char act er i st i cs of the exper i ment
appears, it bei ng possi bl e to i nt r oduce such par amet er s as the
oper at i on mode. durat i on of the exper i ment , several feed
pr oper t i es ( nat ur e, pH, t emper at ur e, concent r at i on, part i cl e
size, et c. ) , over f l ow and under f l ow r ef er ences, etc. Subse-
quent l y, the oper at i on mode of all the i nt egral part s of the
equi pment can be set, ei t her cont i nuousl y, di scont i nuousl y
or not runni ng, as wel l as the oper at i on t i me. Fi nal l y, the t i me
i nt erval bet ween the out put of t wo consecut i ve dat a must be
speci fi ed.
Dur i ng the oper at i on and r unni ng of the pr ogr amme, t wo
i nt er act i ve screens can be obser ved. The first one shows the
l l ow ci r cui t of the pi l ot pl ant wi t h the equi pment oper at i ng.
The second scr een cont i nuousl y di s pl ays the out put val ues
and gr aphi cal l y pr esent s the f ol l owi ng dat a:
Oper at i on t i me
Int erval of t i me bet ween t wo out put dat a
Feed t emper at ur e
Feed pH
Over f l ow and under f l ow rates
Concent r at i on profi l es al ong the set t l er
Al l the dat a are saved in di f f er ent files for l at er pr oc e s s i ng
3. Hydrodynamics
3. I. Ant ecedent s
Al l the desi gn pr ocedur es are based on the sol i ds mass
bal ance under the cl assi cal f or mal i s ms of Kei nat h- Yoshi okt ~
( anal ys i s of the bat ch Ilux cur ve) and Ob a t a - Wa t a n a b e
i anal ysi s of the set t l i ng curve or i nt er f ace hei ght ver sus t i me
M. Ml,?i: ut at. / I' cmder T~'< llm,h,,4v U6 1~)9~'~ 267 274 2ft9
I
Automatic Control
I
(Variables
New calibration ?
Yes [ No
Ca~mtio~n Yes ~lank ( Data adquisitin 0 J
I " A r " i
r I
'T New calibration 2 I~st calibration :
~ ( " l Control data modification
/
[ ' i ~ . ~ 2 . St_'Jlcrllalic d i a e n u n o f I hc L ' O I / l I ) L l I C I " plo*'rLillle M r t l c t t t r c .
I
I
o . d o o F ]
l t ~ ' - ' ' ~ I /
Change in cxmtrol
pl ot ) and assume the si mpl e wel l - known hydr odynami c
behavi our of the set t l i ng tank ( Fi g. 3) , the feed sepanui ng
i nt o t wo secondar y flow regi ons, the chu- i f yi ng/ one and the
t hi ckeni ng zone, bot h assumi ng pl ug llo,,v.
The ext ensi on to the lield of macr ol l ui ds Ilow, and the
subsequent r est r i ct i ons on the appl i cat i on of the r csi dencc
t i me di sl r i but i on ( RTD) f or mal i sm to sedi ment at i on, has
been sat i sf act or i l y appl i ed l o the hydr odynami c characl cri
zat i on el honl ogeneous t ransfer units and react ors I f ' I . and
was di scussed by the aut hors in a pr evi ous paper 171 on the
basi s of the set of mul t i - cont i nui t y equat i ons for the conl i n
uous phase and the hydrocLynamic part i cl e classes. Onl y when
the suspensi on can be co >i de r e d as a si ngl e phase ( mi cr o-
t l ui d) or in the absence of di f f us i onal or phoret i cul forces and
sel ect i ve i nerl i a ( as occur s in ideal set t l er~). RTD i nl or ma
l i on, based on the cont i nuous phase, may be useful for desi en.
par t i cul ar l y f or the det ect i on of dead vol umes and idcntiti
cat i on of the l op and bot t om regi ons.
The hydr odynami c condi t i ons i nsi de a cont i nuous Ihick
ener have been st udi ed by some aut hors [ 8, 9] . I dcal l y. it max
be assumed that sl udge flows t hrough the set t l er in pl ug flow,
Feed
E f t ) , ~ Overflou
I~[k qcP vlume t
m ~ . - I.
- + 1
Botlom volume
~ ~ L ~ ~ Underflo,a
Fig. 3. The two llow regions m an clemelltary settler.
so each el cment of sl udge has the same ret ent i on l i me in the
hulk. To expl ai n smal l devi at i ons from the i deal behavi our .
there are t wo one- par amet er model s, the di sper si on and the
t anks i n- ser i es model s, whi ch havc been used to descr i be the
hwl r odvnami c l l ow pat t ern in the pi l ot pl ant .
3. 2. l : i , y ~ e r i me , l u l
Di l Tercnt exper i ment s of t r ansi ent - r esponse t echni ques
have been car r i ed out, usi ng a sai l - sol ut i on t r acer as a st ep
inpu! ( 0.2 kg NaCI m ~ concenuat i on ), bei ng i nt r oduced in
the sel t l cr al st eady- st al e condi t i ons and r unni ng wi t h t ap
~ aler. The evol ul i on el : t he conduct i vi t y in the under i l ow and
overllow, was det ecl ed t hrouoh | he el ect r ode measur er nenl
syst em.
(~onlJnuous st eady- sl at e runs were per f or nl ed at four di l L
ferent inlet flow rat es v, ith Iour separat e runs at each inlet
l l ow rate ( ove r f l ow/ unde r f l ow ratios, / ) / W) , as seen in
Tabl e 1.
The vol umes for lhe t wo sel t l er zones were i nferred.
accor di ng to the di sper si on model , consi der i ng the exi st ence
of t wo pl ug fl ows {at the top and at the bot t om of the l ank) .
Thus. the vol ume of the t wo r egi ons shoul d be the total vol -
ume of ttle set t l i ng tank. The di f f er ence was cal cul al ed and
"l able I
Inlet and oulll ",,ohlmc flow rates used duDin~ the sludy
I : c c d f l o : ~ . I m ~ h J l I ; " W
0 . 1 0 0 1 , 2 . 4 , I 0
( I , 2 0 0 I . 2 . 4 , I O
0. ~00 I . 2, 4 . I 0
27O
Table 2
Paramclcrs calculated using the dispersion model
M. Muf i r el of. / Po wd e r Tcclmolo.,,,~ 96 t lggfi) 267 274
I)/W V ) , ( | l l ; ) V , ( ITI ~ ) V t ,I ( I l l ; ] ~ i , ' , [ ( ] n ; ) ( 1 ) / u l . L , '~'h ( 1 ) / u l . ) N,
0.300 m' h
I
2
4
10
0.20(} n h
l
2
4
10
0.100 m ~ h
I
2
4
10
(I.097 0.071 0.168 0.004 0.060 6.68 0. I 18 2.88
0.071 0.09(I O. 161 0.011 0.050 8.35 O. l I I 3.10
0.068 O. I0 ~, 0 171 0.001 0.058 7.01 O. 120 2.80
0.036 O. 104 O. 14n 0.032 0.052 8.(12 0. I 16 2.95
0.096 0.066 (1 162 0.010 0.050 8.28 0. I 17 2.90
0.079 1}.085 11 164 0.008 0.060 6.72 0. 135 2.4 I
0.074 0.10() 0 174 0.002 0.056 7.62 0.139 2.30
0.059 1}.()09 0.158 0.014 0.063 6.29 0.125 2.66
O. 106 O.04fl O. 152 0.020 0.056 7.26 0.111 3.09
O. 100 (1.06(, O. 16(~ 0.006 0.057 7.19 0. I l 7 2.88
0.084 0.08(. ~ O. 173 0.001 (1.069 5.69 O. 176 1.67
0.086 O.Ot)6 O. 182 - 0.010 0.069 5.65 O. 125 2.66
is s u mma r i z e d in Ta b l e 2 as V.,,~, t o g e t h e r wi t h s o me ot he r
p a r a me t e r s . In mo s t of t he e x p e r i me n t s , t he d i s c r e p a n c y doe s
not go b e y o n d 5 ~ , i n c r e a s i n g wh e n t he D/ W r at i o is e qua l
t o 10. Pos i t i ve d i s c r e p a n c i e s ar e i n t e r p r e t e d as t he e x i s t e n c e
o f a d i s t r i b u t i o n z one , wh e r e a s t he i n f r e q u e n t n e g a t i v e di s -
c r e p a n c i e s a p p e a r t o be ver y l ow va l ue s .
F:ig. 4 i l l us t r a t e s t he e v o l u t i o n o f t he v o l u me of t he t wo
r e gi ons c a l c u l a t e d l o r t he di f f e r e nt i nl e t a nd out l et f l ows, as
a f u n c t i o n o f t he o v e r f l o w/ u n d e r f l o w fl ux r at i o.
Wh e n t he s e d i me n t a t i o n t a nk is wo r k i n g wi t h s ol i ds i ns i de.
t he t wo r e g i o n s s h o u l d be c o n s i d e r e d as t he c l a r i I i c a t i on z o n e
i n t he t op a n d t he d i u t e a nd c o n c e n t r a t e d z o n e s in t he b o t t o m
par t o f t he uni t . Th e r e f o r e , t he c a l c u l a t e d v o l u me s ar e us ef ul
t o gi ve an i de a o f t he b e h a v i o u r of t he s et t l er , a c c o r d i n g t o
t he d e s i g n u n d e r a r a n g e o f c o n d i t i o n s .
F o r t he s a me i nl et fl ow, t he h i g h e r t he D/ W ( o v e r f l o w
i n c r e a s e ) , t he h i g h e r t he t op z o n e v o h u n e ( V, ) . unt i l i t
r e a c h e s a c o n s t a n t va l ue , wh i l e t he b o t t o m z o n e Vb) d i mi n -
i s hes , b e c o mi n g s t a bl e at a f e e d f l ow r at e o f 0 . 1 0 0 m ~ h
Ho we v e r , wh e n t he f eed f l ow i nc r e a s e s , t he v o l u me o f t he
b o t t o m r e g i o n d e c r e a s e s c o n s i d e r a b l y f or a D~ W r a t i o of 10.
Th i s c o u l d be e x p l a i n e d by t he i n c r e a s i n g f e e d f l ow r at e
p r e f e r e n t i a l l y i n c r e a s i n g t he u n d e r f l o w r at e, due t o t he h i g h
r at i o b e t we e n f e e d d i s t r i b u t o r a nd s e t t l i ng a r e a s i n t he c o l u mn .
Thus . t he r e wa s a s i gni f i c a nt d e p a r t u r e f r o m pl ug f l ow.
Th e t op z o n e vol ur ne i n c r e a s e s wi t h t he f e e d f l ow, wh i l e
t he b o t t o m z o n e v o l u me de c r e a s e s . Th e v o l u me o c c u p i e d by
t he f eed. wh e n i t is i n t r o d u c e d i n t he s et t l er , bef l ) r e it s e pa r a t e s
i nt o t he t wo z one s , is g r e a t e r as t he i nl e t f l ow r at e i nc r e a s e s .
A d e g r e e of mi x i n g wa s e x p e c t e d i n t he f e e d i nl et z one .
Th e ves s el d i s p e r s i o n n u r n b e r ( D/ u L ) wa s c a l c u l a t e d f or
t he t wo r e gi ons , b e i n g a p p r o x i ma t e l y 0 . 0 6 f or t he b o t t o m
z o n e a nd 0.1 1 l o t t he t op z one . t he n u mb e r o f mi x e d t a nks
b e i n g s e v e n a nd t hr ee, r e s pe c t i ve l y. Be c a u s e o f t he d e s i g n of
0.12
O. l
0.08
0 . 0 6
0.04
0.02
+ V b ( 0 . 3 0 0 m V h ) ~ V t ( 0 _ 3 0 0 m V h ) - - 4 - V b ( 0 . 2 0 0 m 3 f h )
~ - - V t ( 0 . 2 0 0 m~ / h ) - - a - - V b ( 0 . tOO_m,~l) " - - ~ - - V L ( 0 . ] _ 0 0 r ( l ' / h )
i I
2 4
D / W r a t i o
10
Fi G 4. V o l u m e s c a l c u l a t e d f o r t he t w o / o n e ~, o f t he s l l ] e r a c c o r d i n g t o t he db, p c r s i o n mo d e l f o r d i f f e r e n t i n l e t l l o w s .
M. Mufti_-. 'l al. / P o w d e r Techmdog) 96 ( 1998) 2 6 7 - 2 7 4 271
1.2
1
0.8
~ 0.6
r,
4
0.4
02
E xperimcn tal da% ~pd i ~ ~ ~$ ~ ~ ~ ~ l ~
0 ~ _ I I I I I
0 1 2 3 4 5
Dimensionless Time
Fil,. 5. RTD and/" curves f or the lop seltlme zone l'~r
6
a feedl],.)>, r a l e o f O. 3 0 0 i n ' h i a n d / J / W- 4 .
the f eed di st r i but or and l:he cr own shape of the cl ar i f i cat i on
zone, it has a hi gh di sper si on number , wi t h gr eat er degr ee of
i nt er mi xi ng.
Set t l ers are supposed to be ext er nal l y open or cl osed ves-
sels, dependi ng on the boundar y condi t i ons, and i nt er nal l y
open vessel s, wi t h var i abl e r egi ons due to the i nl et and out l et
fl ows and dependi ng on the desi gn of t he syst em.
To anal yse the hydr odynami c behavi our of the pi l ot pl ant .
the di sper si on model for open vessel s was consi der ed. The F
cur ve ( c / C , ) was cal cul at ed, i mpos i ng a t r acer st ep i nput of
concent r at i on C,, on the fluid st r eam ent er i ng the vessel , and
al so t he t heor et i cal RTD ( r es i dence t i me di st r i but i on) for
each hydr odynami c r egi on:
1 expr[ ( [ 0)-"
]
E ~ - 27r01 D~ uL ) o7 fi/7
Fr om E, , the F cur ve was est i mat ed, bei ng compar ed to
the exper i ment al dal a. Fi g. 5 shows as an exampl e the cur ves
fl)r a feed flow rate of 0. 300 m' h ~ and D~ W rat i o of 4.
4. Sol i ds c onc e nt r at i on di s t r i but i on
4. I. Cal i br at i on
In the set t l i ng oper at i on st udy, it is necessar y to est abl i sh
a t echni que for t he t wo- st ep cal i br at i on of the el ect r i cal con-
duct i vi t y as a funct i on of par t i cl e concent r at i on: cal i br at i on
in a cont i nuous phase and wi t h the pr esence of di scont i nui t i es
( macr of l ui ds ).
Thi s t echni que is appl i cabl e to suspensi ons wi t h a conduc-
t i ve cont i nuous phase, ot her wi se, some sal t must be added to
the suspensi ons. Ther e are some equat i ons that descr i be a
r el at i on bet ween the conduct i vi t i es and the concent r at i on of
sol i ds [ 41: a l i near rel at i on is al so possi bl e.
Fi rst of al l . the readin~ gi ven by the 32 el ect r ode pai rs in
vol t ages has to be cal i br at ed into conduct i vi t i es. For Ihis
pur pose, t hree medi a are used as st andar ds to compar e the
vol t agcs to t he conduct i vi t y measur ement , bei ng gi ven by a
commer ci al conduct i met er ( Cr i son 2202) : air, in or der to
gi ve a conduct i vi t y cl ose to zero: t ap wat er, whi ch is the
cont i nuous phase used when the syst em is wor ki ng wi t h sol -
ids; and a sal i ne sol ut i on, bei ng the concent r at i on var i abl e
used, dependi ng on the r equi r ement s. Wi t h this pr ocedur e.
all lhe 32 el ect r odes have shown ver y good l i near r egr essi ons
appr oxi mat el y in the range 0 300 i t s cm ~. the cor r es pond-
i ng pot ent i al var yi ng ar ound 0- 5 V.
The second st ep of the cal i br at i on al l ows the t ransfl )rma-
l i on of the conduct i vi t y wl l ues into sol i ds concent r at i on,
whi ch must be car r i ed out speci f i cal l y for each mat er i al . Di f-
ferent concent r at i ons of the sol i d were suspended ( and sta-
bi l i zed by st i r r i ng) in the cont i nuous phase ( t ap wat er, as ha~,
been ment i oned ), bef or e the conduct i vi t y was measur ed.
The conduct i vi t y r eadi ngs were conver t ed to concent r at i on
val ues for some i nor gani c sol i ds { cal ci t e, fl uori t e and quar t z-
ite ) used in this part of our work. The s us pe ns i on/ c ont i nuous
phase conduct i vi t y rat i o ( K) agai nsl the sol i ds concent r at i on
is i l l ust rat ed in Fi g. 6.
The el ect r ode cal i br at i on into conduct i vi t i es must be done
before st art i ng the oper at i on or el se the pr evi ous cal i br at i on
can be used. Al so. the conducl i vf l y of a known sol ut i on can
be checked bef or e deci di ng whet her to make a new cal i br a-
l i on, as shown in Fi g. 2.
4.2. E.vl~eriments wi t h s ol i ds
Duri ng the cont i nuous oper at i on, bot h t he under f l ow
sl udge and the cl ar i f i ed l i qui d are r ecycl ed to the t eed tank,
bei ng st i rred cont i nuousl y. The feed fl ow and the out l et fl ows
are fixed. The pi l ot pl ant is left r unni ng until the st at i onar y
state is reached. The t i me t aken until the st at i onar y state is
r eached depends on the condi t i ons and the char act er i st i cs of
the sol i ds suspensi on. Then, some condi t i on can be changed,
such as feed l l ow rate, over f l ow and under f l ow vales, di fferent
272 M. ,Wm~i: ~'t aL / Powde r l e~ hm,l<Vv ~)6 (199,~) 267 274
1.2
08
06
I. t:luonle
~ . Calcite
( ) u a l t / l t e
" ~ m ~ , ~ " " " l.inear (t"luorite]
- " ~ 1 ~ . i ~l . i ncar (Calcitel
~ ' ~ L " linear ' Quartz're)
I I P I I I I I I
5 10 I S 2 0 2 5 3 0 3 5 4 o 4 >
S o l i d s c ~ mc e n t r a t i o n ( x o l u m c p e r c e n t )
F i g . (+. l _ i n c a r r e l a t i o n bet~,t, gt )l ] c o l n d t n c t i , ~i / \ a n d c o n c e n t r a t i o n f o r s o m e m i n e r a l ~, ot i ds .
5u
oper at i on par amet er s such as dept h o | f eed i nt r oduct hm, use
of c ont i nuous or di s c ont i nuous f e e di ng a n d / o r out l et Il ows,
use o f f o c c u l a n t s , ef f ect of pH and t emper at ur e, act i on of
rakes, et c. The c onc e nt r a t i on pr of i l es, t oget her wi t h ot her
par amet er s , such a,,; ope r a t i on t i me, pH, l e mpe r a t ur e , i nl et
and out l et f o ws , et c. are i l l ust r at ed on t he c o mp u t e r scr een
and s aved f or pr oces s i ng. Fi g. 7 s hows by way o l e x a mp l e
t he s ol i ds c onc e nt r a t i on pr ol i l es obt ai ned l:ronl ol l e t~l t he
compt t t er scr eens, t aken frolll one o f t he e xpe r i me nt s wi t h
f l uor i t e at s ome di f f er ent D~ W rat i os.
As s hown, t he cur xe di s t r i but i on shape agr ees quant i t a-
t i vel y and qua l i t a t i ve l y wi t h t he e xpe c t e d \ a l ue s . The abr upt
c ha nge s in c onc e nt r a t i on are char act er i s t i c for a sat i sf act or y
s t abi l i zat i on o f the ~;ettlcr r e gi ons in a wi de r ange o f exper t -
ment al c ondi t i ons ( c l a r i f yi ng zone, di s t r i but i on zt me, s et t l i ng
Z O l l e and c ompr e s s i on z t ) n c ) .
hi spi t e o f t he speci l i c, :rod t hus l i mi t ed, s i gni f i cance of
t hese e xpe r i me nt a l cur ves , s ome c ons i de r a t i ons ma y be
poi nt ed out . The hi ghe r i nl et the f l ow rat e ( D~ W i nc r e a s e ) ,
t he hi ghe r t he sl ur r y concent r at i on, unt i l the ma x i mu m capac-
ity o f t he set t l er is r eached, und t her e is not a s i gni l i cant
var i at i on in t he di l ut e zone concent r at i on. I f t he i n f u e n t f l ow
rate is still i ncr eas ed, a cl ar i l i cat i on a n d / o r t hi c ke ni ng f ai l ur e
may occur , and t he di l ut e and t he t hi c ke ni ng bl anket s wi l l
pr opagat e upwa r d to t he wat er sur f ace. Thus, t he hei ght o f
t he s e di me nt a t i on t ank. whi ch t akes l he r ol e o f a buf f er ,
b e c o me s a de s i e n var i abl e whe n t he ope r a t i on is car r i ed out
in tile non-stationary r egi l ne.
3 [ . . . . F/W = It
. . . . ~ . . . . F / W = t 2
L ~ . . . . . .
~ Feed introduction
- - - - I ~ ! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
~ , - - .-.~ : ' = ~_ - . ~ ~.
= ~ i , \
E= 1 , 5
'-6 ~ - ~ ' ~
1 \ . \
, \
{1.5 Feed "-, '\ I
: o n c e n t r a t i o n \ . t .
0 . . . . , , , , , . . . . ~ , , " , ~ , 7 , 7 ( , - : , - : - 7 _ , ' : _ ' q _ - 7 - ,
I) 0.05 O. 1 O. t 5 1).2 0.25 11.3 0.35 0.4
S o l i d s c o n c e n t r a t i o n ( v o l u m e f r a c t i o n )
Fig. 7, Concentration preliles lrom the computer screen. Tinle, 2:45:15: pit. 7.2: opcramm lilne I h ). 12: / ( ' C I. 25: output data ( s ), 60: tmderflow rate ( m
h II. 0.01)5,
M. Muf t i : e! al. / P o n ' d c r "l),chnoh)gy 96 ( 1998) 267 274 273
The hydr odynami cs and the study of solids distribution m
the sedimentation tank are needed to devel op an adequate
operat i on control strategy.
5. Concl usi ons
The design and control of settling and thickening units
suffer from the lack of an overall phenomenol ogi cal model.
i ncl udi ng particle mor phol ogy and interparticulate mterac-
lions, in the correlation of departures from ideal settler behav-
i our and in the elucidatton in real time of hydr odynami c
patterns t hroughout the vessel.
In most practical cases,, sedimentation tanks lake the role
of reactors, including crystallization and precipitation, and
buffer tanks in addition to their main separative function.
Thus, the synchroni zed control of settlers in stationary and,
mainly, in non-st at i onary regi mes requires an accuratc
met hod of testing the flow distribution and the state of the
sediment layers, quickl~ building up the real RTD from
experimental dat a and consequent l y being able to vary the
operat i ng conditions, e.g., by-passi ng the inflow, recycl i ng
the underflo,a, or changi ng the feed introduction position, in
order to mi ni mi ze undesirable variations or increase the cfli-
ci ency of the settler unit.
Experi ment al efforts may be directed t owards devel opi ng
procedures for measuri ng and interpreting the state of the
slur U [ 10- 14] , anal ysi ng the ew)lution and RTD of solids
[ 15, 16], and cont rol l i ng the hydr odynami cs in stationary and
transitory regi mes [ [7 ]: lhis work is relevant to Ihe last field
of research.
D~ W
( D/ u L
I)
E
F
K
N
It
V
W
Subs~'riprs"
b
0
t
0
over f l ow/ under f l ow ratio ( - )
vessel dispersion number ( - )
axial dispersion coeffi ci ent ( cm 2 s J)
residence time distribution, RTD (h ] )
curve C/ Co vs. time ( - )
conduct i vi t y suspensi on/ cont i nuous phase
ratio ( - )
react or length ( cm )
number of tanks in series ( - )
dispersion rate ( cm s ' )
vol ume ( m s /
underfl ow w)lumc rate (ms h ~)
relative to the bottom region of the settler
relative to the step input tracer
relative to the top region of the settler
di mensi onl ess time
Acknowl edgement s
We are grateful to CI CYT for the financial support of this
project ( Amb92- 0754) and to Dr R. Hol di ch, G. Butt and
colleagues, from Loughbor ough University, UK, whose help-
ful gui dance and experi ence was essential in the adaptation
of the measurement technique.
References
5.1. Technical conlributirm.v
A sedi ment at i on-fl occul at i on pilot plant has been put
into operat i on and used to undertake the study of cont i nuous
thickeners in a non-st at i onary regi me; an aut omat i c control
syst em and the soft ware have been devel oped.
A conducl i met ri c method, whi ch can be applied to other
syst ems apart from sedimentation, has been used to compl e
ment some precedi ng t echni ques for measuri ng solid
concent rat i ons.
The hydr odynami c behavi our of the cont i nuous thick-
ener has been studied by means of t ransi ent -response tech-
niques, using the dispersion model for the calculation of the
hydr odynami c settling zones.
The operat i ve el ect rode syst em requires a calibration
procedure before the experiments, but gives a high sensitivity.
The electrical met hod allows the cont i nuous detection of (he
concent rat i on profiles in the settler, leading to opt i mum con-
trol in the required operation.
6. List of s ymbol s
C tracer out put concent rat i on ( kg m
D overfl ow vol ume rate ( m :~ h i )
' )
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274 M. Mm~ic el a/, / Powde r Techm~lo,~v 96 ( 1998) 2 6 ~ 2 7 4
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