Characterization of micro-bubble size distribution and flow configuration in DAF contact zone by a non-intrusive image analysis system and tracer tests
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This paper aims to investigate the influence of some dissolved air flotation (DAF) process variables (specifically: the hydraulic detention time in the contact zone and the supplied dissolved air concentration) and the pH values, as pretreatment chemical variables, on the micro-bubble size distribution (BSD) in a DAF contact zone. This work was carried out in a pilot plant where bubbles were measured by an appropriate non-intrusive image acquisition system. The results show that the obtained diameter ranges were in agreement with values reported in the literature (10-100mm), quite independently of the investigated conditions. The linear average diameter varied from 20 to 30mm, or equivalently, the Sauter (d(3,2)) diameter varied from 40 to 50mm. In all investigated conditions, D(50) was between 75% and 95%. The BSD might present different profile (with a bimodal curve trend), however, when analyzing the volumetric frequency distribution (in some cases with the appearance of peaks in diameters ranging from 90-100mm). Regarding volumetric frequency analysis, all the investigated parameters can modify the BSD in DAF contact zone after the release point, thus potentially causing changes in DAF kinetics. This finding prompts further research in order to verify the effect of these BSD changes on solid particle removal efficiency by DAF.