Collective effects on the settling of clay flocs

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In this work a high-magnification digital video camera in combination with a settling column is used to study in a first part the influence of the amount of flocs transferred into the settling column on their settling velocity. In a second part, the setup was used to study the properties of flocs prepared at different clay concentrations but at same flocculant to clay ratio (2.5mgg−1). Illite clay was used and flocculated in a 1 L jar with an anionic polyacrylamide (flocculant). Results show that the average settling velocity of flocs is a function of the amount of transferred flocs. It was also found that floc size and settling velocity depend on clay concentration. This is attributed to the fast aggregation happening in the jar when flocculant and clay are mixed: at higher clay concentrations, larger flocs are created in the first minutes of the experiment, with low densities that prevent them from settling to the bottom of the jar.