Analysis of the Effect of Slurry Concentration and Height on Sedimentation Characteristics of Kaolin-Water Mixture
D.S. Corpuz, J.L. de Guzman and J.M. Golbin
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of the Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
D.S. Corpuz, J.L. de Guzman and J.M. Golbin, 2008. Theoretical discussions predict that initial slurry concentration and heightaffect the sedimentation characteristics, particularly settling time and settling velocity. From experimental data, it was shown thatthe settling velocity of a mixture decreases with increasing concentration, yet reverses trend in the compression settling zone; andsettling time needed to reach the final height increases with increasing initial slurry height.
compression settling, critical settling point, drag force, free settling, hindered settling, rate-limiting layer Stokes Law, terminalvelocity
The experiment aimed to observe the relationship of settlingtime with slurry concentration, as well as with initial slurryheight. This experiment also intended to determine the behaviorof settling velocity as the sedimentation process proceeds. Theeffect of slurry concentration with particle settling velocity wasalso studied.
Sedimentation is one of the methods used in industry to separateliquid-liquid or solid-liquid mixtures. By definition,sedimentation is the separation of a dilute slurry or suspensionby gravity settling into a clear fluid and a slurry of higher solidscontent (Geankoplis, 1993). The resulting liquid is essentiallyparticle free. In industry, either the particle free liquid or theparticles itself is the desired product. Basically, sedimentation isthe movement of particles through a fluid. All throughout itsmotion, three forces act on the particle, namely, buoyant force,gravitational force, and drag force (Geankoplis, 1993). Buoyantforce,
, is the upward force exerted by the fluid on the particle,and is given by the equationwhere
is the volume of the particle,
is the density of theliquid, and
is the gravitational constant.The gravitational force,
on the particle is given by Newton’sLaw asThe drag force,
is the frictional resistance related to thevelocity head of the fluid displaced by the moving body(Geankoplis, 1993) and is given by the equationwhere
is the dimensionless drag coefficient, and isvelocity head.The drag coefficient is a function of the Reynolds number. In thelaminar flow region where
<1, Stokes’ Law dominates and
is given by (Geankoplis, 1993)(1)In sedimentation, the particles experience a period of acceleratedfall and a period of constant velocity fall (Geankoplis, 1993).The constant velocity period is usually of more importance, asthe accelerated fall period is very short relative to the constantvelocity period. In the constant rate period, the particles reach amaximum settling velocity known as the terminal velocity,
The terminal velocity is determined by solving the velocity atwhich the sum of the three forces is equal to zero. Geankoplisgives the equation for the terminal velocity of spheres
is the particle diameter.Equation 2 gives the terminal velocity for
wherein aparticle is at a sufficient distance away from the wall and otherparticles (Geankoplis, 1993). In general, however, particlesexperience
, that is, the velocity gradientsaround each particle are affected by the presence of nearbyparticles (McCabe, 2001). The drag force in hindered settling isgreater than in free settling because of the interference of theother particles, thus the settling velocity for hindered settling isless than that for free settling. (Geankoplis, 1993) The terminalvelocity becomes a function of
, the volume fraction of theslurry mixture occupied by the liquid. Several correlations havebeen developed to analyze settling velocity for hindered settling,and their methods and derivations are beyond the scope of thisexperiment.
The experiment involves the analysis of the effect of varying theheight of the slurry and their concentrations on thesedimentation properties. To determine the effect of initial slurryheight on sedimentation properties, three samples with the sameconcentration of 2.5% kaolin-water solution were made. Initialslurry of 800 mm, 600 mm and 400 mm were assigned. Theslurry inside the vessel was ensured to have a homogenouscharacteristic by rigorously mixing and shaking thesedimentation cylinders. Starting at the same, the mixtures wereallowed to settle, and at intervals of 2 minutes, the heights of theclear regions of the three samples were recorded. Totalobservation time was 2 hours.For the second part of the experiment, the effect of concentration on the sedimentation properties was analyzed. Thevolume (or height) of three new samples was made constant, andtheir concentrations are varied (2.5%, 5%, 7.5%). The heights of the clear regions were recorded with intervals of 2 minutes forthe first two hours. The samples were left overnight and the lastpoint was to be recorded at that period. For this experiment’scase, more than twenty-four hours was observed.