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SETTLING

AND
SEDIMENTATION
Introduction (1/4)

 Filtration versus settling and sedimentation:

Filtration
 The solid particles are removed from the slurry by
forcing the fluid through a filter medium, which blocks
the passage of the solid particles and allows the filtrate to
pass through.
Settling and sedimentation
 The particles are separated from the fluid by forces acting
on the particles.
Introduction (2/4)

 Applications of settling and sedimentation:

* Removal of solids from liquid sewage wastes

* Settling of solid food particles from a liquid food

 Free settling versus hindered settling:
Free settling
 A particle is at a sufficient distance from the walls of the
container and from other particles so that the fall is not
affected.
 Interference is less than 1% if the ratio of the particle
diameter to the container diameter is less than 1:200 or
if the particle concentration is less than 0.2 vol% in the
solution.

Hindered settling
 Occurred when the particles are crowded so that they
settle at a lower rate.
 What is sedimentation?
 The separation of a dilute slurry or suspension by gravity
settling into a clear fluid and a slurry of higher solid
content.
THEORY OF PARTICLE MOVEMENT THROUGH
A FLUID
For a rigid particle of mass m moving in a fluid, there are
three forces acting on the body:
(1)Gravity force, Fg, acting downward
Fg  mg
(2) Buoyant force, Fb, acting upward
mg
Fb  gV s 
s
where  = density of the fluid
s = density of the solid particle
Vs = volume of the particle
THEORY OF PARTICLE MOVEMENT THROUGH A FLUID

For a rigid particle of mass m moving in a fluid, there are three forces acting on
the body:

(3) Drag force, FD, acting in opposite direction to the

particle motion
v 2
FD  CD A
2
where CD = the drag coefficient
A = the projected area of the particle

The resultant force equals the force due to acceleration.

dv mg v 2
m  mg   CD A
dt s 2
THEORY OF PARTICLE MOVEMENT THROUGH A FLUID

The falling of the body consists of two periods:

(1) The period of accelerated fall
 The initial acceleration period is usually very short,
of the order of a tenth of a second or so.

(2) The period of constant velocity fall

dv
Set 0 and solve the above equation for v.
dt

dv mg v 2
m  mg   CD A 0
dt s 2
2(  s   )mg
 v  vg 
 s C D A

* vg is called the free settling velocity or terminal velocity.

THEORY OF PARTICLE MOVEMENT THROUGH A FLUID

2(  s   )mg
v  vg 
 s C D A

For spherical particles of diameter d,

 sd 3 d 2
m and A 
6 4

4(  s   )dg
 vg 
3C D
THEORY OF PARTICLE MOVEMENT THROUGH A FLUID

The drag coefficient for rigid spheres has been shown to be

a function of the Reynolds number.
THEORY OF PARTICLE MOVEMENT THROUGH A FLUID

24 24
CD  
N Re vd / 

4(  s   )dg 4(  s   )dg vg d d2

vg     (  s   ) gvg
3CD 3 24 18

d2
 vg  ( s  )g
18
THEORY OF PARTICLE MOVEMENT THROUGH A FLUID

 Brownian motion: the random motion imparted to the

particle by collisions between the molecules of the fluid
surrounding the particle and the particle.
* If the particles are quite small, Brownian motion is
present.

 This movement of the particles in random

directions tends to suppress the effect of gravity.

 Settling of the particles may occur more slowly

or not at all.
THEORY OF PARTICLE MOVEMENT THROUGH A FLUID

* At particle sizes of a few micrometers, the Brownian

effect becomes appreciable and at sizes of less than
0.1 m, the effect predominates.

 In very small particles, application of centrifugal

force helps reduce the effect of Brownian motion.
[Example] Many animal cells can be cultivated on the
or “microcarriers” have a density of 1.02 g/cm3 and a
diameter of 150 m. A 50-liter stirred tank is used to
cultivate cells grown on microcarriers to produce a viral
vaccine. After growth, the stirring is stopped and the
microcarriers are allowed to settle. The microcarrier-free
fluid is then withdrawn to isolate the vaccine. The tank has
a liquid height to diameter ratio of 1.5; the carrier-free fluid
has a density of 1.00 g/cm3 and a viscosity of 1.1 cP. (a)
Estimate the settling time by assuming that these beads
quickly reach their maximum terminal velocity. (b)
Estimate the time to reach this velocity.

d2
Hint: v g  18 (  s   ) g

(To be continued)
Data: d = 150 m = 0.015 cm;  = 1.1 cP = 0.011 g/cm-s; s = 1.02 g/cm3;
 = 1.00 g/cm3; g = 980 cm/s2
(a) Estimate the settling time by assuming that these beads quickly
reach their maximum terminal velocity.

Solution:
d2
vg  (  s   ) g  vg = 0.022 cm/s
18
vd 1  0.022  0.015
Check: N Re    0.03  1
 0.011
 d t2   h 
2

Liquid volume, V   
  h    h  50 L
 4  4  1.5 
h 52.3 cm
 h = 52.3 cm  Settling time    2379 s
v g 0.22 cm/s
(To be continued)
(b) Estimate the time to reach the terminal velocity.

Solution (cont’d):
dv mg v 2
Force balance: m  mg   CD A
dt s 2
d 3  s v 2
 24  d 2  v 2 
m ; CD A       3dv
6 2  vd  4  2 
dv g 18v
  g   2
dt s d s

dv 18   
 
 2 v  1   g (I.C.: t = 0, v = 0)
dt d  s  s 
d2    18 
 v (  s   ) g 1  exp  2 t 
18   d  s 
(To be continued)
(b) Estimate the time to reach the terminal velocity.

Solution (cont’d):

d2    18 
v (  s   ) g 1  exp  2 t 
18   d  s 

d2
At steady state (t  ), v  v g  ( s  )g
18
18t
 When d 2   1 , v  vg
s

 For v = 0.99vg, t = 5.34  103 s

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ISOPYCNIC (SAME-DENSITY) SEDIMENTATION
 To capture particles in a solution having density gradient.
 Application: determining the density of the solute or
suspended particle.

* There are three methods for establishing conditions for

isopycnic sedimentation:
(1) Layer solutions of decreasing density, starting at the
bottom of the tube.
(2) Centrifuge the solution containing a density-forming
solute (such as CsCl) at extremely high speed.
(3) Use the gradient mixing method.
[Example] You wish to capture 3 m particles in a linear
density gradient having a density of 1.12 g/cm3 at the
bottom and 1.00 g/cm3 at the top. You layer a thin particle
suspension on the top of the 6 cm column of fluid with a
viscosity of 1.0 cp and allow particles to settle at 1 g. How
long must you wait for the particles you want (density =
1.07 g/cm3) to sediment to within 0.1 cm of their isopycnic
level? Is it possible to determine the time required for
particles to sediment to exactly their isopycnic level?
Solution:
(a) dx d 2 18 dx
v  ( s   )g  dt  2
dt 18 d g s  

(To be continued)
18 dx
dt 
d 2 g s  

The dependence of liquid density  on the distance x is:

1.12  1.00
  1.00  x  1.00  0.02 x
6
The isopycnic level of  = 1.07 g/cm3 is:
1.07  1.00
x  3.5 cm
0.02
The time needed for the particle to sediment to 3.4 cm can
be obtained from:
18
t 3.4
dx
0 dt  d 2 g 0  s  
(To be continued)
18
t 3.4
dx
0 dt  d 2 g 0  s  

18  0.01
3.4
dx
3 10   980 0 1.07  (1.00  0.02 x)
 t 4 2

3.4

 0.02 0 0.07  0.02 x

2041 0.002
 ln  362,823 s  100.8 h
0.02 0.07
(b) It is not possible to determine the time required for
particles to sediment to exactly their isopycnic level (3.5
cm).
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DIFFERENTIAL SETTLING (or CLASSIFICATION)
 Separation of solid particles into several size fractions
based upon the settling velocities in a medium.
If the light and heavy materials both have a range of
particle sizes, the smaller, heavy particles settle at the same
terminal velocity as the larger, light particles.
The terminal settling velocities of components A and B are:

4(  sA   ) gd A 4(  sB   ) gd B
v gA  and v gB 
3CDA 3CDB
For particles of equal settling velocities, vgA = vgB.
(  sA   )d A (  sB   )d B d A  sB   C DA
 or  
C DA C DB d B  sA   C DB
d A  sB   CDA
 
d B  sA   CDB

In the turbulent Newton's law region, CD is constant.

d A  sB   CDA d A  sB  
   
d B  sA   CDB d B  sA  
For laminar Stokes’ law settling,
24 24
CDA  and CDB 
v gAd A v gB d B
0.5
d A  sB   C DA  sB   d B d A   sB   
       
d B  sA   C DB  sA   d A d B   sA   
d A  sB   CDA
 
d B  sA   CDB
d A  sB  
In the turbulent Newton's law region, CD is constant, 
d B  sA  

0.5
d A   sB   
For laminar Stokes’ law settling,   
d B   sA   

For transition flow between laminar and turbulent flow,

n
d A   sB    1
   where  n 1
d B   sA    2
 Settling a mixture of particles of materials A (the heavier)
and B (the lighter) with a size range of d1 to d4 for both
types of material:
* Size range dA3 to dA4:
pure fraction of A
 No B particles
settle as fast as
the A particles in
this size range.

* Size range dB1 to dB2:

pure fraction of B
 No particles of A
settle as slowly.
* Size range of A particles from dA1 to dA3 and size range of B
particles from dB2 to dB4: form a mixed fraction of A and B

* Increasing the density  of the medium.

 The spread between dA and dB is increased.
[Example] A mixture of silica and galena (方鉛礦; PbS) solid
particles having a size range of 5.21  10-6 m to 2.50  10-5 m
is to be separated by hydraulic classification using free
settling conditions in water at 20C. The specific gravity of
silica is 2.65 and that of galena is 7.5. Calculate the size
range of the various fractions obtained in the settling. The
water viscosity at 20C is 1.005  10-3 Pa-s.

Solution: A particles: galena; B particles: silica

d2
Assuming Stokes’ law settling, v g  ( s  )g
18

 Check the validity of the Stokes’ law region.

(To be continued)
Solution (cont’d):
d2
vg  ( s  )g
18
For the largest particle and the biggest density,
dA = 2.50  10-5 m and sA = 7.5 g/cm3 = 7500 kg/m3

(2.50 10 5 ) 2 3
vgA  3
( 7500  1000)( 9.8)  2.20  10 m/s
18(1.005 10 )

vd 1000(2.20 10 3 )( 2.50 10 5 )

Check: N Re   = 0.0547 < 1
 1.005 10 3

 O.K. with the Stokes’ law region.

(To be continued)
Solution (cont’d):
For particles of equal settling
velocities,
0.5
d A   sB   
  
d B   sA   
0 .5
d A3   sB   
  
d B 4   sA   
 2.65  1 
0.5
d A3

 2.50  105  7.5  1 
 
 dA3 = 1.260  10-5 m
The size range of pure A (galena) is:
dA3 = 1.260  10-5 m to dA4 = 2.50  10-5 m
(To be continued)
Solution (cont’d):
0 .5
d A1   sB   
  
d B 2   sA   

5.21  10 6  2.65  1 
0.5

  
d B2  7.5  1 
 dB2 = 1.033  10-5 m

The size range of pure B (silica) is:

dB1 = 5.21  10-6 m to dB2 = 1.033  10-5 m
The mixed-fraction size range is:
dA1 = 5.21  10-6 m to dA3 = 1.260  10-5 m
dB2 = 1.033  10-5 m to dB4 = 2.50  10-5 m
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