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sedimentation paper

sedimentation paper

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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.
Keywords:
compression settling, critical settling point, drag force, free settling, hindered settling, rate-limiting layer Stokes Law, terminalvelocity
OBJECTIVES
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.
THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
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,
b
, is the upward force exerted by the fluid on the particle,and is given by the equationwhere
m/ 
 ρ
 p
 
is the volume of the particle,
 ρ
is the density of theliquid, and
g
is the gravitational constant.The gravitational force,
g
 ,
on the particle is given by Newton’sLaw asThe drag force,
 D
 ,
is the frictional resistance related to thevelocity head of the fluid displaced by the moving body(Geankoplis, 1993) and is given by the equationwhere
 D
is the dimensionless drag coefficient, and isvelocity head.The drag coefficient is a function of the Reynolds number. In thelaminar flow region where
 N 
Re
<1, Stokes’ Law dominates and
 D
 
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,
v
.
 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
 
as(2)where
 D
 p
 
is the particle diameter.Equation 2 gives the terminal velocity for
 free settling
wherein aparticle is at a sufficient distance away from the wall and otherparticles (Geankoplis, 1993). In general, however, particlesexperience
hindered settling
, 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 
ε
, 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.
PROCEDURE
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.
 
RESULT AND ANALYSIS
The mechanism of solid settling from slurry can be bestobserved in a glass cylinder as shown in Fig. 1 below.Initially, the slurry is uniformly concentrated and the initialheight is
 z
o
, as shown in Fig. 1
a.
The concentration of the slurryis high enough that the particles affect each other’s rate of fall tothe extent that after a short time, all particles settle at the samevelocity and are assumed to approach rapidly the terminalvelocities under hindered-settling conditions (Foust, 1980). Theconcentration is high enough to cause settling as a matrix, thatis, the particles remain in a fixed position relative to each otheras they settle (www.cee.cornell.edu). Heavier solids settle faster,thus forming zone
 D
shown in Fig. 1
b
. Zone
 A
is the region of clear liquid (Foust, 1980). Zone
 B
is a region of uniformconcentration which is essentially equal to the initial slurryconcentration (McCabe, 2001). In this zone, the particles settleby free settling and at a uniform rate (Geankoplis, 1993). Zone
is the transition region wherein the concentration is non-uniform and the sizes of the particles are varied (Foust, 1980).As sedimentation goes on, the depth of zone
 B
decreases, thedepths of zone
 A
and
 D
increase, while that of zone
remainsconstant, as shown in Fig. 1
c
(McCabe, 2001). Zone
 B
 eventually disappears, and the solids in zone
and
 D
mergesuch that only zone
 D
is distinct, as shown in Fig. 1
. Duringthis stage, the matrix of particles gets constrained from thebottom because of the bottom of the settling tank. Such asituation is called
compression settling
(www.cee.cornell.edu).The moment (or height) at which zone
 B
and
disappear and allthe solids appear in zone
 D
is referred to as the
critical settling point.
By definition, it is the point at which a single distinctinterface forms between the clear liquid and sediment (Foust,1980). Beyond the critical settling point, sedimentation occursby compression. The gradual accumulation of the upper particlescompress the solids at the bottom and decrease the height of zone
 D
, and force the residual liquid in zone
 D
out upwardthrough the solids into the clear liquid zone. The settling ratesduring compression settling are very slow, and the rates may beestimated using hindered settling computation methods. Fig.
1e
shows the end state of the sedimentation process, in which theweight of the solid is balanced by the compressive strength(McCabe, 2001). Sedimentation design and calculations arebased upon identifying the concentration of the layer having thelowest capacity for the passage of solids through it. Thisparticular layer is called the
rate-limiting layer, c
 L
(Foust, 1980)
.
 One of the objectives of this experiment is to determine theeffect of varying initial slurry heights (or volume) on thesedimentation characteristics. Initially, the concentrations of thethree samples were kept constant and their initial height wasvaried. The results for the first objective are presented first,followed by the results for the varying concentration.As discussed earlier and shown in Fig. 1, different zones appearduring sedimentation. Fig. 2 is a plot of the depth of the clearzone versus time. The plot shows that during initial stages of sedimentation, the depth of the clear zone decreases at aconstant rate as sedimentation goes along, as shown by the steeplinear part of the plot. The plot also shows that the slope changesafter a certain depth has been reached. The curve of the plotduring the later stages of sedimentation is almost horizontal yetstill almost linear. The part of the plot that is almost horizontalrepresents the compression settling stage, wherein hinderedsettling dominates.As shown by Fig. 3, the settling velocity for the different regionscan be determined from the plot of liquid interface height versustime. The slope of the steady interface subsidence rate representszone settling velocity.
01020304050607080900.000.501.001.502.00
   C   l  e  a  r   l   i  q  u   i   d   i  n   t  e  r   f  a  c  e   h  e   i  g   h   t ,  z ,  c  m
Settling time,
θ
, hr
Clear Liquid Interface vs. Settling Time(Varying Initial Heights)
tube 1tube 2tube 30100200300400500600700800900-20020406080100120140
   C   l  e  a  r   l   i  q  u   i   d   i  n   t  e  r   f  a  c  e   h  e   i  g   h   t
Settling time
Tube 1: Determination of Velocity
Fig. 4. Determining the settling velocityFig. 3. Getting the zone settling velocity(Source: www.ceeserver.cee.cornell.edu)Fig. 2. Clear Liquid Interface vs. Settling Time(same concentration, different initial heights)
Fig.1 . Batch Sedimentation (Source: McCabe, 2001)
 
Fig. 4 shows the method used in this experiment to determinethe settling velocities at different points. The slopes of thetangent lines at each point, which is equal to the settling velocityat the point, were determined. In equation,(3)The exact values of the settling velocities of each trial are shownin the appendix.From the y-intercept of the tangent lines in Fig. 4, the height
 z
i
 that the slurry would occupy at concentration
c
 L
 
is determined.The
 z
i
 
data can be used to determine the minimum concentration
c
 L
at which boundary layer interferes, using the equation(4)where
c
o
 
and
 z
o
 
are the initial concentration and height,respectively. Exact values of 
c
 L
 
are given in the appendix.As the sedimentation process goes along, the concentration of the solids region increasingly becomes more concentratedbecause the solids are getting more compacted. As this happens,the settling velocity decreases as the concentration increases, asshown in Fig. 5. Notice that the velocity decreases at almost aconstant rate when the concentration is relatively low.Fig. 6 shows the trend of settling velocity as sedimentation goesalong. It should be noted that there are regions wherein thevelocity is approximately constant. The settling velocity alsoexperiences significant change. It can be seen that the velocitydecreases as the sedimentation goes along, as is theoreticallyexpected. This is because the hindered settling region isincreasingly becoming more concentrated as time goes on andthe nearer presence of the other particles slow each other’ssettling velocity. The velocity in the compression settling zoneis significantly less than that in the earlier region. Fig. 5 alsoshows how the initial height (or volume) of the mixture affectsthe settling velocity of the mixture. The sample with the highestinitial height (namely, tube 1) had, in general, the fastest settlingrates compared to rates of the other samples.Additional information that can be determined from the
 z
 
vs.
θ 
 
plot is the critical settling point, as illustrated in Fig. 7. Thecritical point is the point where a single distinct interface formsbetween the clear liquid and sediment can be obtained. At thestart of sedimentation, the solids have a concentration
c
o
andfree settling is observed. A tangent line is drawn at this part. Onthe other hand, another linear behavior which is almosthorizontal is observed at the other end of the graph. A tangentline is also drawn at this part. These lines are extended until theyintersect. The angle between these two lines is measured and anangle bisector is used. The bisector is extended until it touchesthe curve. The point of intersection is the critical point. Atangent line is made at the critical point. Extending this linegives the value of the concentration and time at the critical point.(Foust, 1980)From Fig. 8, it is observed that the sample with the highestvolume (or height) takes longer to reach its critical point. Themain reason for this phenomenon is that the time to reach thecritical point would be influenced by the amount of sedimentthat has to settle as it reaches the critical point. Generally, this isthe only effect of varying the height of the slurry can have.Initial height doesn’t necessarily affect the sedimentation rate.For the second part of the experiment, the objective was todetermine the effect of initial concentration on sedimentationcharacteristics. Three samples of kaolin-water slurry were madewith different concentration. It is expected that the rate of descent of the solid-liquid interface is a function of localconcentration (Foust, 1980).
0204060801001201401601802000.0050.00100.00150.00200.00250.00
   S  e   t   t   l   i  n  g   V  e   l  o  c   i   t  y   (  c  m   /   h  r   )
Concentartion (g/L)
Settling velocity vs. Concentration
tube 2tube 3tube 10204060801001201401601802000.000.501.001.502.00
   S  e   t   t   l   i  n  g  v  e   l  o  c   i   t  y ,  v   t ,  c  m   /   h  r
Settling Time,
θ
, hr
Settling Velocity vs. Settling Time
tube 1tube 2tube 30100200300400500600700800900020406080100120
   C   l  e  a  r   l   i  q  u   i   d   i  n   t  e  r  a  c  e   h  e   i  g   h   t ,  z ,  c  m
Settling time,
θ
, hrs
Tube 1: Height vs. Time
1621263102004006008001000
   T   i  m  e ,  m   i  n  s
Initial Height, mm
Time to Critical Point vs. Initial Height
Fig. 8. Time needed to reach critical point vs. Initial heightFig. 7. Getting the critical settling pointFig. 6. Settling Velocity vs. Settling Time(same concentration, different initial heights)Fig. 5. Settling Velocity vs. Concentration(same height, different concentration)

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