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On fluid dynamics of lamella

separator modelling and process


optimisation

Vom Fachbereich Produktionstechnik


der
Universität Bremen

zur Erlangung des Grades


Doktor-Ingenieur
genehmigte

Dissertation

von
M.Sc. Ahmed Ibrahim Salem

Gutachter: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jorg Thöming


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Udo Fritsching
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 25. April 2012
1

Zusammenfassung

Eine Aufgabe bei der Behandlung von häuslichen Abwässern und Industrieabwässern
ist es, Suspensionen durch Schwerkraftabscheider in klare Flüssigkeit und Feststoffe zu
trennen. Der Schrägplatten-Schwereabscheider (IPS) kann dies mit eine relativ hohen

Abscheidegrad bei geringem Flächenbedarf leisten. Jedoch erreichen herkömmliche


IPS hinreichende Trennleistung nur bei Volumenströmen, die unter den ausgelegten

Werten liegen.

Diese Art von Schwereabscheidern hängt vom Verhältnis der Strömungsrichtun-

gen von Zulauf und Sediment-Supension ab, von der Geschwindigkeitsverteilung der
Suspensionen zwischen den Schwereabscheider-Kanälen und vielen anderen Faktoren.

Diese Faktoren werden sehr stark von der Zuleitungskonfiguration beeinflusst.

Zur Lösung des Problems wurden drei verschiedene Zuleitungsstrukturen verwen-

det, um deren Effekt in einem Labormassstab IPS zu untersuchen. Versuche und


numerische Strömungssimulationen (CFD) wurden durchgeführt, um sowohl die hy-

draulischen Eigenschaften als auch die Trennleistung beurteilen zu können. Der Ver-
gleich der experimentellen Ergebnisse mit den vorhergesagten Ergebnissen der CFD-
Simulation zeigte eine gute Übereinstimmung der Verweilzeitverteilungen (RTD-Kurven).

Es wurde deutlich, dass die Verwendung der Düsenverteiler die hydraulische Leistung
des IPS entscheidend verstärken und so zu einer Verbesserung der Trennleistung um

7% Leistung führen kann.

Basierend auf dem Ergebnis, dass die Trennleistung des IPS in der Regel von seinem

hydraulischen Verhalten eingeschränkt wird, welches wiederum vom Zulaufverteiler


bestimmt wird, wurde ein Optimierungsansatz entwickelt. Als Methode dazu wurde

die Response Surface-Methode(RSM) verwendet, basierend auf der Hypothese, dass die
Verringerung der Inhomogenität der Strömungsverteilung zwischen Ausflussöffnungen

eines Düsenverteilers im IPS Zulauf das hydraulische Verhalten dieses IPS verbessert.
Die RSM wurde verwendet, um die Beziehung zwischen den Input-Parametern des
Verteilers und einer Zielfunktion zu beschreiben und mit einer kommerziellen Soft-
ware (Ansys) zur Lösung des Optimierungsproblems zu führen. Durch die Opti-

mierung der Verteiler könnte die hydraulische Leistungsfähigkeit des IPS sowie Strö-
mungsgeschwindigkeitsverteilung innerhalb der einzelnen Känale des Schwereabschei-

ders verbessert werden, so dass die Trennleistung um nahezu 10 % gesteigert wurde.


Zu Lösung des Problems der Resuspension am Eingang der Schwereabscheider wur-

den Traufen-Kanäle am unteren Rand der Platten mit einem veränderlichem Nei-
gungswinkel angebracht, um das Sediment zu sammeln und es über Seitenabflüsse
auszuschleusen. Durch diesen Ansatz könnte die Trennleistung des Schrägkanalklärers

um weitere 7 % gesteigert werden.


3

Abstract

The suspensions in the treatment of water, domestic wastewater and industrial waste-

water can be separated into clarified fluid and solid matter by gravity settlers. Inclined
plate settler (IPS) is a type of gravity settler that can provide very high space time
yield. Its performance strongly depends on the direction of the feed flow relative to

sediment movement, the distribution quality of suspensions between settler channels,


the hydraulic characteristic of suspension within the settlers and many other factors.

These factors in turn are extremely influenced by the inlet configuration.

In this work, three different inlet structures were used to explore the effect of feeding

a lab scale IPS by a nozzle distributor in terms of separation efficiency. Experimental


work and Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) simulation analyses were carried out

to assess both the hydraulic characteristics and separation efficiency. Comparing the
experimental results with the predicted results by CFD simulation imply that the
CFD software can play a useful role in studying the hydraulic performance of the IPS

by employing residence time distribution (RTD) curves. Also, the results show that
using nozzle distributor can significantly enhance the hydraulic performance of the

IPS which has contributed to improve its separation efficiency.

This finding means that the flow pattern provided by the inlet structure can con-

strain the separation performance of IPS. An approach was used for optimising this
pattern by means of response surface methodology (RSM). The hypothesis could be
confirmed that reducing the discrepancy of flow distribution among outlet openings of

a nozzle distributor for feeding a bench scale IPS enhances the hydraulic behaviour of
this IPS. The RSM was used to establish an approximate model to describe the re-

lationship between the input parameters of the distributor and an objective function.
This model was solved by using Ansys CFD package. The results proved that optimi-

sation of the distributor has led to increase the hydraulic performance of the IPS in
4

terms of the flow pattern of IPS approaches plug flow condition, and also improved the
flow distribution within each settler, both of which improved the separation efficiency
to nearly 10%.

Attempting to decrease the resuspension problem at the entrance of the settlers, an


sediment gutters were placed on the lower edge of the plates with an inclination angle

to collect the sediment and dispose it via a lateral outlet. The results approved that
the proposed approach is an effective tool to improve the separation efficiency under

special conditions up to 7%.


Preface

This work has been carried out at Department of Chemical Engineering - Regeneration
and Recycling in Bremen. First of all, I wish to express my gratitude to my supervisor

Prof. J. Thöming for a wealth of suggestions and guidance throughout the thesis
project. I would like to thank Goerge Okoth who helped me when I came to deal with
the CFX software. Also, I would like to thank Waldemar Retkowski for conservations

and discussion on optimisation . I am grateful to Michael Birkner for manufacturing


the experimental set-up and to Dietmar Grotheer for assisting in some experiments.

Also I would like to thank Lydia Achelis, for her support in the particles size analysis.
I would like to thank The Bremer Institut fuer angewandte Strahltechnik (BIAS) for

providing access to the software ANSYS 12. Further, I gratefully acknowledge the
Egyptian government for providing the financial support for my scholarship through
the Missions Department in the Ministry of Higher Education. Finally I thank my

wife and parents for their encouraging me during the work in this thesis.
Contents

Zusammenfassung 3

Abstract 5

Preface 6

List of Figures 11

List of Tables 11

Symbols 14

1. Introduction 15
1.1. Inclined plate settler - state of the art . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
1.2. Thesis outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers 25


2.1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
2.2. Material and method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
2.2.1. Experimental set-up and procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
2.2.2. CFD Simulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
2.3. Results and discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
2.3.1. Flow distribution study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
2.3.2. Hydraulic behaviour study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
2.3.3. Separation efficiency study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

3. Effect of optimisation of inlet zone on the hydraulic behaviour 49


3.1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
3.2. Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
3.2.1. Geometry Details of the IPS Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
3.2.2. Optimisation Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
3.2.3. Numerical Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
3.3. Results and discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
3.3.1. Optimisation results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
3.3.2. Hydraulic performance of the IPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
3.3.3. Separation efficiency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
8 Contents

4. New concept for the disposal of sediment in countercurrent IPS 65


4.1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
4.2. Material and methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
4.2.1. Geometry details of the IPS test systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
4.2.2. Experimental set-up and procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
4.3. Results and discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
4.3.1. Impact of the entrance zone length on the separation efficiency . 70
4.3.2. Assessment of the IPS with lateral sludge collector . . . . . . . 72

5. Concluding remarks and future work 83

Bibliography 87
List of Figures 9

List of Figures

1.1. Classification of IPS based on flow direction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19


1.2. Typical commercial counter-current IPS consists of different functional
zones: Feeding zone contains both the inlet and feed box, effective sep-
aration zone contains the incline plates, outlet zone contains both the
effluent collection channels and outlet pipe, and sludge hopper repre-
sents the collected sludge zone. downloaded from website: www.nordic-
water.de/docs/content.php, on 03.01.2012 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

2.1. Sketches of the employed inlet structures. Where LS1 is fed by pipe, LS2
is fed by a nozzle distributor which is surrounded by the IPS wall, and
LS3 is fed by a nozzle distributor which is surrounded by an additional
cylindrical wall. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
2.2. Process flow diagram of experimental set-up with aerator (A), pump
(B), rotameter (C), conductivity probe (D), data acquisition system (E),
camera (F), and test section for measuring dye velocity through settlers
(L). (1) and (2) denote the sample collection points in the inlet and
outlet streams, respectively, while (3) denotes the stream of withdrawal
concentration sediment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
2.3. The influence of both inlet configuration and flow rate on the effi-
ciency of flow distribution quantified by standard deviation (SD) be-
tween lamella plates: (a) experimental data, (b) κ- model, and (c) κ-ω
model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
2.4. The normalized experimental RTD curves as function of flow rate: (a)
LS1, (b) LS2, and (c) LS3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
2.5. The impact of both inlet configuration and flow rate on the flow pattern
of the IPS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
2.6. Comparison of normalized RTD curves between simulations and exper-
imental results for LS1 at flow rates: (a) Q= 200 l/h; (b) Q= 250 l/h;
(c) Q= 300 l/h; (d) Q= 350 l/h. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
2.7. Comparison of normalized RTD curves between simulations and exper-
imental results for LS2 at flow rates: (a) Q= 200 l/h; (b) Q= 250 l/h;
(c) Q= 300 l/h; (d) Q= 350 l/h. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
2.8. Comparison of normalized RTD curves between simulations and exper-
imental results for LS3 at flow rates: (a) Q= 200 l/h; (b) Q= 250 l/h;
(c) Q= 300 l/h; (d) Q= 350 l/h. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
10 List of Figures

2.9. Comparison of the predicted NTIS numerically with experimental data:


(a) LS1, (b) LS2, and (c) LS3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
2.10. Separation efficiency [η = (SSin - SSout) x100/SSin] as a function of
both flow rate and inlet configuration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

3.1. Schematic of the IPS model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51


3.2. Geometry of distributor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
3.3. sensitivity analysis for parameters D, H and h showing the standard
deviation (SD) as function of percent change of input parameters (dC):
[(a),(b) and (c)] and [(d),(e) and (f)] for non-optimised and optimised
distributor respectively. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
3.4. Quality of flow distribution between lamella plates . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
3.5. Velocity distribution in the transverse direction in the middle of the
settlers: (a),(b) and (c) for non-optimised distributor;(d),(e) and (f) for
optimised distributor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
3.6. Influence of the optimisation on the RTD curves: (a)=250 l/hr; (b)=300
l/hr;(c)=350 l/hr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
3.7. Influence of the optimisation on the calculated NTIS . . . . . . . . . . 61
3.8. Influence of the optimisation on the separation efficiency of the IPS model 63

4.1. Isometric of IPS1 with variable entrance zone length (a) and IPS2 with
lateral sludge collector (b) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
4.2. Experimental set-up with pump(A,D),valve (B),ground tank (T1), over-
head tank (T2), rotameter (c).(1) and (2) denote the sample collection
points in the inlet and outlet streams, respectively, while (3) denotes
the stream of withdrawal concentrated sediment . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
4.3. Experimental separation efficiency as function of entrance zone length
and inclination angle of the IPS1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
4.4. Increment rate of separation efficiency as function of entrance zone
length and inclination angle of the IPS1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
4.5. Turbulence eddy dissipation (TED) as function of entrance zone length 73
4.6. Details of plates used in the experiments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
4.7. Impact of the proposed plate on the separation efficiency . . . . . . . . 76
4.8. Velocity streamlines in two settler configurations with a bar of 6 mm
height and of two angles of inclination, 450 and 550 . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
4.9. Effect of six plate structures with a sediment gutter inclined by 450 on
the normalised RTD curve predicted by numerical simulation. . . . . . 78
4.10. Effect of six plate structures with a sediment gutter inclined by 550 on
the normalised RTD curve predicted by numerical simulation. . . . . . 79
4.11. Effect of the different plate structures on the NTIS . . . . . . . . . . . 80
4.12. Effect of the different plate structures on the mean residence time of
IPS2 model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
4.13. Comparison of effect of the different plate structures on the NTIS and
the separation efficiency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
List of Tables 11

List of Tables
2.1. normalized variance values as function in flow rate and inlet configuration 42

3.1. Influence of optimisation on the NTIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

4.1. Description of the experimental plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75


List of Tables 13

Symbols
B the sum of body forces,N

Cμ , C1 , C2 constants in the κ −  model dimensionless

Dφ kinematic diffusivity, m2 .s−1

E(t) residence time distribution, s−1

E(θ) dimensionless residence time distribution, s−1

MRT mean residence time, s

NTIS number of tanks in series model

Pκ shear production, kg.m−1 .s−3

SD standard deviation

tm mean residence time, s

tmean theoretical mean residence time, s

ti time interval, s

U the mean velocity vector, m.s−1

κ turbulent kinetic energy, m2 .s−2



p modified pressure, P a

Sφ volumetric source term

SC t turbulence Schmidt number dimensionless

 turbulent dissipation rate,m2 .s−3

ω turbulent frequency,s−1

ρ liquid density, kg.s−3

μef f effective viscosity,P a.s

μt turbulent viscosity,P a.s


14 List of Tables

σ constants in the κ −  model dimensionless

σκ constants in the κ −  and κ − ω models dimensionless



β , α, β, σω constants in the κ − ω model dimensionless

φ tracer concentration,kg.m−3

σ2 spread of residence time curve

σθ2 normalized variance of residence time distribution

θ dimensionless time

θpeak the time taken to reach maximum tracer concentration (dimensionless)


15

1. Introduction

In the recent days, the interest with environmental pollution control is raised as one of

the main world problems. With the increase of pollution rates due to the increase of
wastewater quantities and the growing demand for waste treatment and water recla-

mation and recycling, the need to preserve a high quality waste treatment effluent had
appeared to achieve the environmental limits.

The separation of particles from suspension is an important step in the water treat-

ment, the wastewater treatment and in many industrial processes because the per-
formance of these tanks have direct or indirect impact on other units of treatment

plant[1].

The main methods which are used in the separation of solid / liquid mixtures are
screening, settling (sedimentation), filtration and flotation.

A gravity sedimentation (settler) is the most economical method for separating

inorganic solids from suspensions under certain conditions, but it is not effective for
the separation of the organic flocs due to a negligible difference in densities between

particles and fluid or when the particles are very small . In spite of this drawback, the
settling by gravity is widely used in water treatment, wastewater treatment, and in

the chemical process industries because its cost is less than alternative systems [2, 3].

The separation efficiency depends on the characteristics of the solids and the hy-
draulic condition of flow field in the settling tank. These tanks represent a major

component of any water and wastewater treatment plant because the costs of their
construction and operation represent approximately 30% of the total investment of

any treatment plant [4].


16 1. Introduction

Settling tanks design based on the basis of theory developed by Hazen [5] and Camp
[6]. They concluded that the separation efficiency of ideal settling tank depends on
the overflow rate, which is function in the horizontal area of tank, rather than the

detention time. Consequently, the efficiency in this type is directly related to the
surface area available for settling.

The settling tanks are classified in two main categories: primary and secondary.

The concentration of suspended solids in primary tanks is considerably low comparing


with the secondary tanks which indicates that the concentration field has a minimal
effect on the flow field [7].

The behaviour of the settling of suspension is classified into four types: discrete,

flocculent, hindered, and compression. In the discrete type, the suspensions consist of
discrete particles which settle as individuals based on the Stokes’ low, and there is very

little interaction between them. In flocculent settling type, the suspensions contain
particles which tend to agglomerate together, resulting growth in their size and settle
faster. Hindered settling occurs when the solid concentration in the suspension is high,

causing a decrease in the fall velocity due to interaction with surrounding particles.
Compression settling occurs when the solid concentration become so high and the

particles support each other and to obtain further separation a compression tool is
used [8, 9] .

To decrease the footprint of settling tanks or if the available space for separation
process is limited, as it is in industrial wastewater treatment, the using of incline

plate settlers (IPS) is preferred. It provides high space-time yield due to short settling
distance and the available settling area is given by the total area of the plates projected

on a horizontal surface. Moreover,the IPS are attractive tools for the separation of
solid-liquid suspensions due to low energy demand because it does not need scrapers

which are used for collecting and removing the sediment from the settling tank floor
17

[10, 11].

IPS are a classical subject with a long history, and Boycott [12] was the first who

observed that the settling rate of suspension is better ”‘if the tube is inclined than
when it is vertical”’, this so-called Boycott effect. The settling behaviour in inclined

vessel was modelled firstly by Ponder [13] and latter by Nakamura and Kuroda [14]
and both so-called PNK theory [15]. This theory explains that the quality of the

clarified fluid is function in the vertical settling velocity of particles and the horizontal
projection area of the settler. Equation (1.1) represents the PNK theory.

S(t) = vs (bcosθ + Lsinθ) (1.1)

Where S(t) is the clarification rate of suspension per unit depth in the third dimension

of settler, vs is the vertical settling velocity, b is spacing between plates, L is the length
of settler, and θ is the inclination angle of settler with vertical.

Yao[10] analysed theoretically suspensions that flow through a duct and contain

discrete particles. He developed a general equation that describes the condition which
makes the trajectory of a particle stopping in this duct, and he discussed the influence
of the relative settler length (l/D) and inclination angle of the duct on the settling

performance, where l and D denote the length and height of settler (perpendicular
space between wall) respectively. He suggested that the relative settler length should

be below 40 and preferably about 20, while he found the performance of settler de-
creases as the inclination angle increases because the settling distance increases, and

the performance decreases rapidly when the angle becomes more than 400 .

Several studies were performed based on the PNK theory. Acrivos and Herbolzheimer

[16] studied the behaviour of the three stratified layers: a sediment layer, a suspension
layer and a clarified layer, and they developed an equation to describe the thickness

of ”‘the clear fluid layer that formed underneath the downward facing plate”’ when
18 1. Introduction

the space between the plates is small compared with their length (low aspect ratio).
Also, they attributed the discrepancy from the PNK theory to the instability of the
interface between these layers which causes resuspension of particles and then reduces

the efficiency of separation.

Moreover, Leung and Probstein [17] analysed the behaviour of the above three layers,
and they developed equations which represent the velocity profiles for each layer.

Also, they observed that the increase of solids concentration and angle inclination
of settler decrease its efficiency. All previous analyses were conducted under laminar

flow condition, two-dimensional geometry and monodisperse suspension. Furthermore,


a number of studies were performed regarding the performance of inclined settler

containing bidisperse or polydisperse suspensions [18, 19, 20, 21, 22].

The flow instability problem in inclined settler was investigated by many authors
under different conditions [23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29]. These studies showed that the in-

stability of flow is a function of the settler angle, the feed flow rate and the suspension
concentration. Borhan [27]and Acrivos and Borhan [28]concluded that increasing con-
centration of suspension, angle of inclination with vertical and fluid viscosity improves

the stability of inclined settler. Also, they observed that the efficiency separation and
stability of high aspect-ratio (H/b) inclined settler is better than low aspect-ratio.

Here H and b denote the height of suspension in settler and the perpendicular space
between the plates respectively.

1.1. Inclined plate settler - state of the art

The IPS system can be constructed in one of three modes as shown in Figure 1.1:

With the counter-current, the direction of the suspension flow is opposite to the sedi-
ment flow. In a co-current flow, the direction of the suspension flow is the same as the

sediment flow direction. In a cross-flow, the direction of the suspension flow is per-
1.1. Inclined plate settler - state of the art 19

Figure 1.1.: Classification of IPS based on flow direction

pendicular to the sediment flow direction. Leung and Probstein [17] stated that the
feed of settler in the middle is complicated, , while Kowalski and Mieso [30] mentioned

that the counter-current system is widely used more than cross-flow mode although
its separation efficiency is more efficient. Rushton et al. stated that the co-current

mode is suitable for separation process that produce low bulk density sludge such as
metal hydroxides, and the best inclination angle for this type generally between 300
and 400 . Also they concluded that the counter-current mode is preferred because this

system is simpler in design and operation.

Sarkar et al. [31] predicted the separation performance of conter-current IPS based

on the dimensional analysis approach, and they utilised seven non-dimensional vari-
ables to develop a model representing the efficiency under different geometrical and

dynamic conditions. Okoth et al. [32] summarized the factors which have effect on the
separation efficiency of IPS, and they modelled the suspension-sediment interaction

phenomenologically. He and Marsalek [11] investigated the effect of using vortex plates
20 1. Introduction

in clarifiers on the sedimentation efficiency experimentally, and numerically by using


computational fluid dynamics (CFD). They concluded that the efficiency is improved
by implementing the vortex plates up to 8% numerically and 26% experimentally.

All previous approaches are faced with a general problem, which is resuspension of
sediment due to flow instabilities as shown above and shear stress between the phases

as well as between the fluid and the lamella surfaces. This problem increases if the
particles are either cohesive or biological particles.

In more detail the problems of IPS are described as follows:

1. Flow instabilities and resuspension occur especially at the inlet zone, if the in-

let zone of IPS is not designed correctly, where the separation zone of IPS is
influenced greatly by the inlet structure [33].

2. Common designs of IPS have a problem by interference between the feed stream
and sediment path. When the sediment drops from one plate and encounter with

suspension which moves in the upflow direction, the sediment will be resuspended
easily [17].

3. Some designs use downflow direction for the feed stream; this maybe have more
problems in the exit zone. When the sediment drops from one plate and collides
with clarified supernatant which also moves in the downflow direction, likely

the sediment will go out with the temporarily clarified solution and become
suspension again.

The counter-current IPS mode is selected in this study. Figure 1.2 illustrates a
typical common industrial commercial countercurrent IPS. It consists of two main

parts: the upper tank inclines with the same angle of inclination of plates which are
in range between 500 and 600 , and the second lower conical part that uses to collect

and thickening the sludge. To obtain clarified fluid that can be produced due the
1.2. Thesis outline 21

separation process in this unit, a suspension enters the IPS via a pipe into feed box
between the inclined plates. This suspension enters the plate cells from the sides
via the inflow openings, and then turns up between the plates and flows to effluent

channels via openings and then leaves the separator via the outlet pipe. Separation
occurs during the upward flow of the suspension to be clarified. The solids settle on

the plates and slide down into the sludge hopper. The sludge is thickened in the sludge
hopper and exits the settler via the sludge outlet [34].

This counter-current IPS system is faced with two general problems, which are the

flow distribution between the settlers due to feeding of the plate lamella (package)
from one side only and the resuspension of sediment occur at the inlet zone of settlers,

and both of which are influenced by the inlet zone configuration [32]. These problems
lead to decrease the separation efficiency. This study aims to focusing and understand
the causes of these problems in the counter-current mode in order to make technical

improvements for the IPS. These improvements will contribute in decreasing these
problems and obtain better separation efficiency.

1.2. Thesis outline

The thesis is organised in five chapters:

In Chapter 2, deals with the hypothesis that the separation zone of IPS is influ-
enced greatly by the inlet structure. Owing to this hypothesis, I assumed that IPS
performance will be improved due to enhancement of the quality of flow distribution

within each settler and its hydraulic characteristics. Three lab-scale IPS with different
inlet structure were investigated to explore the effect of feeding these IPS via a nozzle

distributor on their hydraulic performance and separation efficiency, and developing a


Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) model for simulating the hydraulic behaviour

of the IPS, and validate the CFD simulation with the lab-scale experimental results.
22 1. Introduction

Figure 1.2.: Typical commercial counter-current IPS consists of different functional


zones: Feeding zone contains both the inlet and feed box, effective sep-
aration zone contains the incline plates, outlet zone contains both the
effluent collection channels and outlet pipe, and sludge hopper repre-
sents the collected sludge zone. downloaded from website: www.nordic-
water.de/docs/content.php, on 03.01.2012
1.2. Thesis outline 23

In Chapter 3, based on the results of Chapter 2, an objective function was suggested


to optimise the hydraulic performance of IPS. This was based on the hypothesis that
reducing the discrepancy of flow distribution among outlet openings of nozzle distrib-

utor, will enhance the hydraulic behaviour of IPS. A global optimisation-CFD tool for
the optimisation of a nozzle distributor was applied. Thereafter the optimised distrib-

utor is used in a lab-scale IPS to investigate the impact of optimised distributor on


the hydraulic behaviour and the separation efficiency of the IPS.

The interference between the feed stream and sediment path in the countercurrent
mode causes resuspension for the sediment at the lower edge of the settler. A new
structure of IPS is proposed in Chapter 4 to decrease this problem. Experimental

work and numerical simulations were performed to assess this approach.


Chapter 5 summaries the general conclusions of thesis and gives suggestions to

continue this research.


25

2. Evolution design of inlet structure


of countercurrent inclined plate
settlers

2.1. Introduction

Separation efficiency of IPS is usually well below the theoretical performance due

to many factors. Okoth et al. [32] summarized these factors by the modelling of
suspension-sediment interaction phenomenologically. In their experimental study, they

employed a nozzle distributor to avoid the problems which could be caused by feeding
these settlers by a lateral feed box as explained in Chapter one, consequently improve

the hydraulic performance of IPS which is one of the factors affecting the separation
efficiency. However, they did not investigate in detail the effect of using this nozzle
on both distribution of the total flow between the settler channels and flow patterns

of the entire IPS system, both of which have a significant impact on the separation
performance of the IPS. The equalized distribution of suspension within each settler is

important to obtain an equal overflow velocity on every plate, which contributes to the
improvement of the IPS efficiency, while the flow patterns are essential in determining

the flow characteristics in order to achieve a reliable design [35].


26 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers

The residence time distribution (RTD) curve is an effective tool to understand the
reactor hydrodynamics, which characterise the operational shortcoming of a new sep-
aration equipment. Moreover, the residence time distribution is used to describe the

flow pattern in a reactor which is important in the design and modelling of reactors
[36, 37, 38].

The flow in tanks always deviates from the ideal plug flow or complete mixed flow

and is usually described as a non-ideal flow pattern. Levenspiel [39] described two
methods for the characterization of a non-ideal flow pattern. One is the longitudinal
dispersion (LD) model which represents a flow that deviates from plug flow, and

the other is the tanks in series (TIS) model which describes the mixing within a
single real reactor as a number of equally sized continuous stirred-tank reactors in

series (CSTRs). When the number of tanks in series is one, the model predicts the
performance of an ideal CSTR. As the number of tanks in the TIS model increases,

the flow within the reactor approaches that of a plug flow reactor (PFR) [40]. Both
the LD and TIS models are characterized by dispersion number and the number of
tanks in series (NTIS) respectively. The TIS model was used in this study because it

is mathematically much simpler than the LD model. Also, the NTIS does not depend
on the definition of the inlet and exit boundary conditions.

”‘Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has become a robust tool in the design of

reactors and provides useful and detailed information prevailing in the reactors, such as
velocity field, concentration distribution, and phase hold-up distribution”’ [41]. CFD
is typically used in the simulation of RTD [42, 43, 44, 45]. The hydrodynamic of

flow field can be described and modeled by using Navier Stokes equations, which are
solved numerically using a CFD codes/models. Many software packages, such as CFX,

Fluent, and Comsol, offer several models, which should be experimentally verified [46].

Two turbulent models (κ −  model and κ − ω model) were implemented in the


2.2. Material and method 27

present study to predict both velocity flow field and RTD curve. Thereafter, the
predicted results were compared with the experimental results to determine which of
the two models give the most realistic results.

Furthermore, the influence of hydraulic performance on the separation efficiency of


the lab-scale IPS fed by a nozzle distributor is demonstrated in this chapter.

Note: All figures in this chapter were published in Salem et al.[47].

2.2. Material and method

The separation zone of IPS is influenced greatly by the inlet structure [33]. Because

of this, three inlet configurations (LS1, LS2 and LS3) were suggested to investigate
the impact of feeding the IPS via a nozzle distributor on its hydraulic behaviour and

separation efficiency. Sketches of the employed inlet structures are shown in Fig. 2.1.
LS1 model is fed by pipe only, and it is investigated to identify the effect of using

distributor, used in LS2, on hydraulic performance of IPS, and this model is used by
Okoth et al. in their study [32]. LS3 model is suggested base on the hypothesis that
housing this distributor in cylinder shape will improve hydraulic performance of IPS.

The IPS was made of plexiglas of 15 mm in thickness with internal dimensions of


(100 mm x 80 mm x 480 mm) and was placed on a ramp with angle of inclination 450

in all tests. Three polyvinyl-chloride plates 300 mm long and 5 mm thick were used
in the IPS. The three plates could be fixed at any distance from the nozzle apex, and

the spacing between the plates was 16 mm.

2.2.1. Experimental set-up and procedures

Two techniques were used to identify the hydraulic behaviour of the IPS. The first
technique was measurement the velocity within every settler by using the colour ve-

locity measurement (CVM) method [48]. The second method was used to quantify
28 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers

Figure 2.1.: Sketches of the employed inlet structures. Where LS1 is fed by pipe, LS2
is fed by a nozzle distributor which is surrounded by the IPS wall, and
LS3 is fed by a nozzle distributor which is surrounded by an additional
cylindrical wall.
2.2. Material and method 29

the hydraulic behaviour of the IPS by using residence time distribution (RTD) ex-
periment. Furthermore, to explore the impact of using distribution nozzle on the
separation process, the removal of suspended solids (SS) efficiency for the IPS was

determined.

A small slug of concentration dye solution (potassium permanganate) was injected

impulsively into the IPS inlet, and a high resolution digital camera was used to provide
the data for the calculation of mean velocity within every settler by computing the

required mean time for the dye to travel a known length.

The RTD was measured by quickly injecting 3 mL of tracer (KCL, 3 g/l) into the

IPS inlet and the tracer concentration at the outlet was measured with a conductivity
probe every five seconds using a data acquisition system. The experimental procedures
were repeated five times for each flow rate. The fitting of curve was then performed

to minimize the deviation between the experimental data and the simulation data by
using exponentially modified Gaussian peak function which has given us adjusted R2

values between 0.94 and 0.97.

The separation efficiency was determined by specifying the concentration of SS in

the samples which were collected from the inlet stream and outlet stream. The samples
were filtered under pressure through a 0.45 μm pore size cellulose nitrate membrane

using a compressed air filter model 16249 from Sartorius AG. Thereafter, a dry mass
concentration analysis is performed using a moisture analyser model MA45 also from
Sartorius AG, Germany [32].

To carry out these tests, an experimental set-up was constructed. A process flow
diagram of the experimental set-up is shown in Fig. 2.2. It consists of a 35 L storage

tank with an aerator mounted at the bottom denoted as A. This tank was filled with
tap water in both velocity measurement and RTD experiments, while it was filled with

suspension - including crushed walnut shell particles - in the separation efficiency test.
30 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers

The feeding of fluid was achieved by using a centrifugal pump denoted as B. The flow
rates were regulated by using variable direct-current voltage power supply in a range
of 0-24 volt. There is a flow meter between the pump and the inlet, denoted as C. Both

the conductivity meter and data acquisition system - denoted as D and E - were used
only in the RTD test. To determine the separation efficiency, three sets of samples

were collected from both the inlet stream (section 1) and the outlet stream (section
2).

The crushed walnut shell particles had a density of 1.35 g/cm3 and their size distri-
bution was analysed using the laser diffraction technique, with a Malvern (Mastersizer,

2000) analyser. Particle size distribution parameters like d(0.1), d(0.5), d(0.9) were
analysed, and the corresponding values were 35, 115, and 235 μm respectively. The

d(0.1), d(0.5) and d(0.9) values indicate that 10%,50% and 90% of the particles have
diameters which are smaller than or equal to the stated size.

The separation experiments were carried out as follows: At the beginning of each
experiment the suspension was mixed well in the feed tank for 5 minutes to achieve a

uniform distribution. The mixture was then pumped to the IPS. Three samples were
collected from the inlet stream after 5 minutes from the onset of pumping. On other

hand, no fixed time was set for the outlet stream sampling since this depended on the
hydraulic residence time. At the end of every experimental run, the IPS was drained

and the samples returned to the feed tank. The longest duration of each experiment
was 15 minutes.

2.2.2. CFD Simulations

CFD analysis using CFX-10 from ANSYS was performed by employing the standard
κ −  model and κ − ω model, where κ,  and ω denote turbulent kinetic energy,

turbulent dissipation rate, and turbulent frequency, respectively.


2.2. Material and method 31

Figure 2.2.: Process flow diagram of experimental set-up with aerator (A), pump (B),
rotameter (C), conductivity probe (D), data acquisition system (E), cam-
era (F), and test section for measuring dye velocity through settlers (L).
(1) and (2) denote the sample collection points in the inlet and outlet
streams, respectively, while (3) denotes the stream of withdrawal concen-
tration sediment.
32 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers

For wall-bounded flows, as in IPS, the standard κ −  model neglects the effects of
viscosity in the near-wall region, and it is valid for turbulent core flow [49]. A scalable
wall function is adopted in CFX to improve the near wall treatment by ”‘limiting the

value of the dimensionless distance from the wall (y + ) to be = 11.06 (where 11.06 is the
intersection between the logarithmic and linear near wall profile), which prevents the

mesh points falling within the viscous sub-layer. Thus, all fine mesh inconsistencies
are avoided”’ [50]. On the other hand, an automatic near wall treatment is used in the

κ − ω model by Wilcox [51], which provides an analytical solution for ω in both the
logarithmic and the viscous regions. ”‘The idea behind the automatic wall treatment
is that the model shifts gradually between a viscous sub-layer formulation and wall

functions, based on the grid density near wall”’ [52].

The two models were selected in this chapter for purpose of comparison, and to
determine which model would be closed to experimental results.

The governing equations of mass and momentum were determined using the Reynolds

averaged Navier−Stokes Eqs. 2.1 and 2.2

∂ρ
+ ∇ · (ρU ) = 0 (2.1)
∂t

∂ 
ρU + ∇ · (ρU ⊗ U ) = ∇p + ∇ · (μef f (∇U + (∇U )T )) + B (2.2)
∂t

Where ρ is the liquid density, B is the sum of body forces, U is the mean velocity

vector, p is the modified pressure and μef f is the effective viscosity. The calculations

of p and μef f are:

 2
p = p + ρk (2.3)
3
2.2. Material and method 33

μef f = μ + μt (2.4)

Where μef f is the turbulent viscosity, which is given by:

κ2
μt = C μ ρ (2.5)


k
μt = ρ (2.6)
ω

Equations 2.5 and 2.6 were employed for the κ −  and the κ − ω models respectively.
The values of κ and  in the κ −  model are estimated from equations 2.7 and 2.8

respectively.

∂(ρk) μef f
+ ∇ · [ρU K] = Pk − ρ + ∇ · ( ∇κ) (2.7)
∂t σκ

∂(ρ)  μef f
+ ∇ · [ρU ] = (C1 Pκ − C2 ρ) + ∇ · ( ∇) (2.8)
∂t κ σ

Where Pκ is the shear production due to turbulence. The values of κ and ω in the
κ − ω model are estimated from equations 2.9 and 2.10 respectively.

∂(ρk)  μt
+ ∇ · [ρU K] = Pk − β ρkω + ∇ · [(μ + )∇k] (2.9)
∂t σk

∂(ρω) ω μt
+ ∇ · [ρU ω] = α Pk − βρω 2 + ∇ · [(μ + )∇ω] (2.10)
∂t k σω

Where Pκ is the production rate of turbulence.

The set of the κ −  model constants is Cμ = 0.09, C1 = 0.1256, C2 = 1.92, σκ = 0.9,

σ = 1.3.
34 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers


While the values of the κ−ω model constants are β =0.09, α= 59 , β= 40
3
, σk =2, σω =2.

To model the RTD in the ANSYS CFX 10.0, KCL was used as tracer. It was
introduced in the software as a volumetric additional variable with concentration 3

kg m−3 and it has molecular diffusivity of 1.703 x 10−9 m2 s−1 [53]. The governing
equation for the tracer transport reads as follows:

∂φ μt φ
+ ∇ · (U φ) = ∇((ρDφ + )∇ · ( )) + Sφ (2.11)
∂t Sct ρ

φ
Where φ is the tracer concentration, ρ
is the conserved quantity per unit mass,
Sφ is a volumetric source term, Dφ is the kinematic diffusivity for the scalar and
Sct is the turbulence Schmidt number which represents the ratio between the rate

of momentum transport and passive scalars. The simulation was performed in two
steps. In the first step, the simulation was performed in steady-state turbulent flow

condition to determine the hydraulic fluid characteristics such as velocity and kinetic
energy by using both the κ- model and κ-ω model individually. In the second step, the

information obtained from the first stage was used to solve Eq. (2.11). By determining
the tracer concentration φ at the outlet from the transient simulations, the residence
time distribution could be computed as follows:

C(t) = φoutlet (t) (2.12)

The normalized concentration E(t) is used to compare RTD curves under different
flow rate conditions, and it is defined by the following equation:

C(t)
E(t) =  ∞ (2.13)
0
C(t)dt
2.2. Material and method 35

The mean residence time is given by:

∞
tC(t)dt
tm = 0∞ (2.14)
0
C(t)dt

The spread of the residence time curve (variance) is measured by:

∞ 2
t C(t)dt
σ 2 = 0 ∞ − (tm )2 (2.15)
0
C(t)dt

The normalized variance is calculated from the following equation:

σ2
σθ2 = (2.16)
t2m

Finally the following equation estimates the NTIS [39]:

1
N T IS = (2.17)
σθ2

The boundary conditions for the system were as follows: IPS wall, nozzle distri-

bution, and lamella plates were assumed as standard wall boundary conditions with
no-slip flow. The boundary condition at the inlet was set as the mass flow rate with
a value from 55 to 97 g/s, whereas the boundary condition at the outlet was set as

the average static pressure across the outlet area. The tetrahedral grid was used be-
cause it is the most common way of numerically solving problems in three-dimensional

domains of complex shapes [54, 55]. Furthermore, the inflated mesh was used in the
near-wall regions to capture the effects of the boundary layer. The mesh structures

for LS1, LS2 and LS3 have 1.09 x 106 , 1.2 x 106 and 1.07 x 106 elements respectively.
36 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers

2.3. Results and discussion

2.3.1. Flow distribution study

Owing to the hypothesis that the IPS efficiency depends on the quality of flow dis-
tribution within each settler, the velocity through every settler was determined. The

flow velocity in the CFD was derived from the calculation of velocity at a specific
section in the transverse direction, which was in the middle of the settler, while in

the experiment it resulted from the required mean time for the dye to travel a known
length in the longitudinal direction. Thereafter, the standard deviation (SD) of a set

of the values of flow velocities through every settler was utilized as a criterion for the
flow distribution efficiency. As shown in Figures 2.3a, 2.3b, and 2.3c, the SD increases
as the flow rate increases, indicating a decrease in the flow distribution efficiency. Fur-

thermore, the distribution efficiency clearly depends on the type of inlet structure. It
was optimal for LS3, where the average values of SD were between 0.09 and 0.22, while

the inlet structure of LS1 showed the worst performance, with average SD values from
1.3 to 2.1, and highest dependency of SD on flow rate. Obviously, the flow distribution

within the IPS can be significantly improved by using the nozzle distributor. Addi-
tionally, the simulation and experimental results clearly deviate significantly because
two different methods were used in the determination of the flow velocity through the

settlers, and the purpose here was only to perform a qualitative evaluation.

2.3.2. Hydraulic behaviour study

RTD Experiments

Runs were carried out at four different flow rates, with values of 200, 250, 300, and
350 l/hr and RTD curves were plotted between E(t) versus (t).

The influence of flow rate on the normalized concentration curves for different inlet
2.3. Results and discussion 37

3,0
2,5 a LS1

2,0 LS2

1,5 LS3
SD

1,0
0,5
0,0
150 200 250 300 350 400

2,0
b LS1
1,5 LS2

1,0 LS3
SD

0,5

150 200 250 300 350 400

2,0
c LS1
1,5 LS2

1,0 LS3
SD

0,5

150 200 250 300 350 400


Flow rate [l/h]

Figure 2.3.: The influence of both inlet configuration and flow rate on the efficiency of
flow distribution quantified by standard deviation (SD) between lamella
plates: (a) experimental data, (b) κ- model, and (c) κ-ω model.
38 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers

structure is shown in Fig. 2.4. As expected, the peak of the curve appears earlier
shorter with increasing flow rate in the three cases (LS1, LS2 and LS3). Also a strong
tail of the RTD curve was observed in all cases. This leads to increase deviation

from the ideal case (i.e. plug flow) which is not desirable for the performance of the
separation process [56, 57]. Furthermore, the existence of a tail indicates presence

of dead space, which gives an indication of stagnant pockets or recirculation regions.


These regions reduce the effective volume and should be kept as small as possible.

To quantify the hydraulic performance of the IPS, the NTIS is calculated from the
RTD curve. Fig. 2.5 illustrates the impact of both inlet configuration and flow rate on
the NTIS. This figure reveals that the NTIS depends strongly on the inlet structure,

additionally, as expected, the hydraulic behaviour of LS1 is significantly different from


the plug flow due to non-use of an effective inlet device to distribute the suspension.

In contrast, the NTIS for LS2 and LS3 is about 7 to 10 which indicated tendencies to
plug flow.

Comparison between numerical simulation and experimental results

Figures 2.6,2.7 and 2.8 illustrate a comparison between the simulated data and ex-

perimental measurements of the normalized RTD. As can be seen from the figure,
the main characteristic for LS1 is an extreme initial peak with an average value of

θ ∼
= 0.50 which indicates a short-circuiting stream where is dimensionless time [θ=
ti /Tmean ; Tmean = theoretical mean retention time]. By contrast, the average values of
initial peak for both LS2 and LS3 reached maximum concentration at θ = 0.78, and

θ=0.90 respectively. This means the hydraulic behaviour of LS3 approaches plug flow
conditions [8].

Moreover, it can be observed from the figure that the simulated RTD curves of
both the κ-ω model and κ- model are deviated slightly for LS1. On the other hand,

for both LS2 and LS3, the predicated results by the κ- model for both types differ
2.3. Results and discussion 39

0,06 a 200 l/h

250 l/h

0,04
E(t) [s ]

300 l/h
-1

400 l/h

0,02

0,00
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160
0,06
200 l/h
b
250 l/h
0,04
E(t) [s ]

300 l/h
-1

400 l/h
0,02

0,00
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160
0,06
200 l/h
c
250 l/h
0,04
E(t) [s ]
-1

300 l/h

400 l/h
0,02

0,00
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160
t [s]

Figure 2.4.: The normalized experimental RTD curves as function of flow rate: (a)
LS1, (b) LS2, and (c) LS3
40 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers

10

NTIS
6

0
3
LS

400
350
2

300
LS

250
F
lo 200
1
LS

w
ra
te
[l/
150
h ]

Figure 2.5.: The impact of both inlet configuration and flow rate on the flow pattern
of the IPS.
2.3. Results and discussion 41

considerably from the predicated results by the κ-ω model. This means that a correct
modelling of the nozzle distributor plays an important role in the final results.

Also, it can be generally observed from the figures for both LS2 and LS3 that the
predicted results obtained by the κ-ω model better match the experimental observation

when compared with the κ- model. This is especially evident in the prediction of the
time at which the peak concentration of the tracer is observed, the end of the tail and

the normalized variance values. Whereas the discrepancy of the normalized variance
values between the predicted results by κ-ω model and experiments data was around
8% for LS2 and LS3, while the differences in the normalized variance values between

the predicted results by the κ- model and experiments data was within 20% for LS2
and 35% for LS3. This indicates that the κ-ω model provides a good overall description

of the IPS behavior.

As previously mentioned, having a correct model of the nozzle distributor has a


large impact on the final results, and despite the use of inflated mesh to resolve the
wall-layer accurately, there was little qualitative discrepancy between the predicted

RTD curve by the κ-ω model and the experimental results. This discrepancy could
be because of existing eddies of a wide range of length scale in the boundary layer,

which are totally modelled in the κ-ω model. Further work needs to be undertaken to
improve the prediction of the RTD curve by using other models, such as a large-eddy

simulation model. This model has the capability of resolving the three-dimensional
time-dependent details of the large and medium (i.e., resolved) scales, whereas the
effects of the small unresolved eddies are modelled with a sub-grid turbulence model

[58].

It is important to study the effect of flow rate on RTD curves to compare the
behaviour of simulated RTD curves with the experimental results. It is noticeable

that an increase in liquid flow rate leads to decreases in the average residence time
42 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers

Table 2.1.: normalized variance values as function in flow rate and inlet configuration
flow rate [l/h]
IPS Derived data from 200 250 300 350
σθ2
Experiment 0.34 0.54 0.52 0.57
LS1 κ- model 0.37 0.42 0.53 0.60
κ-ω model 0.43 0.50 0.56 0.61
Experiment 0.13 0.12 0.12 0.14
LS2 κ- model 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.11
κ-ω model 0.13 0.13 0.11 0.14
Experiment 0.10 0.11 0.10 0.11
LS3 κ- model 0.06 0.07 0.07 0.07
κ-ω model 0.10 0.11 0.11 0.11

as discussed in the RTD experiments section. Also,table (2.1) illustrates that, the
normalized variance values of LS1 increase as flow rate increases for both experiment

and simulation results. On the other hand, in both the LS2 and the LS3, flow rate did
not change the normalized variance values significantly, despite approximately 2-fold
increases in the flow rate. This indicates that a wide working range for both LS2 and

LS3. Figure 2.9 illustrates the hydraulic characteristics of the IPS as function in both
the flow rate and inlet structure. This figure shows that the calculated NTIS from CFD

simulations by using the κ-ω model also match well with the experimental findings.
Furthermore, it can be observed that the values of NTIS based on the normalized

variances are equivalent to 2 to 3 NTIS for LS1, 7 to 9 NTIS for LS2 and 9 to 10 NTIS
for LS3. These values again reveal that the LS3 provides significantly better hydraulic
behavior amongst the three.

2.3.3. Separation efficiency study

The impact of flow rate and inlet configuration on the removal of suspended solids is
illustrated in fig. 2.10. The results reveal that the separation efficiency decreases as

the flow rate increases for the three inlet structures. This could be expected based on
2.3. Results and discussion 43

0.06 a Experiment

K-
0.04
E( ) s-1

K-

0.02
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5
0.06 b Experiment

K-
0.04
E( ) s-1

K-

0.02
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0
0.06 c Experiment

K-
0.04
E( ) s-1

K-

0.02
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5
0.06 d Experiment

K-
0.04
E( ) s-1

K-

0.02
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0

Figure 2.6.: Comparison of normalized RTD curves between simulations and experi-
mental results for LS1 at flow rates: (a) Q= 200 l/h; (b) Q= 250 l/h; (c)
Q= 300 l/h; (d) Q= 350 l/h.
44 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers

0.05
a Experiment
0.04
E( ) s-1
K-
0.03
K-
0.02
0.01
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5
0.05
b Experiment
0.04
E( ) s-1

K-
0.03
K-
0.02
0.01
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0
0.05
c Experiment
0.04
E( ) s-1

K-
0.03
K-
0.02
0.01
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5
0.05
d Experiment
0.04
E( ) s-1

K-
0.03
K-
0.02
0.01
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5

Figure 2.7.: Comparison of normalized RTD curves between simulations and experi-
mental results for LS2 at flow rates: (a) Q= 200 l/h; (b) Q= 250 l/h; (c)
Q= 300 l/h; (d) Q= 350 l/h.
2.3. Results and discussion 45

0.04
a Experiment
0.03 K-
E( ) s-1

0.02 K-

0.01
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5
0.04
b Experiment
0.03 K-
E( ) s-1

0.02 K-

0.01
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5
0.05
c Experiment
0.04
K-
0.03
E( ) s-1

K-
0.02
0.01
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5
0.05 d Experiment
0.04 K-
0.03
E( ) s-1

K-
0.02
0.01
0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5

Figure 2.8.: Comparison of normalized RTD curves between simulations and experi-
mental results for LS3 at flow rates: (a) Q= 200 l/h; (b) Q= 250 l/h; (c)
Q= 300 l/h; (d) Q= 350 l/h.
46 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers

4
a Experiment K- K-
3
NTIS

1
150 200 250 300 350 400

14
12
b Experiment K- K-

10
NTIS

8
6
150 200 250 300 350 400

20
c Experiment K- K-
16
NTIS

12

8
150 200 250 300 350 400
Flow rate [l/h]

Figure 2.9.: Comparison of the predicted NTIS numerically with experimental data:
(a) LS1, (b) LS2, and (c) LS3.
2.3. Results and discussion 47

Figure 2.10.: Separation efficiency [η = (SSin - SSout) x100/SSin] as a function of both


flow rate and inlet configuration.

the previous results, which indicated that the hydraulic behavior of IPS decreases with

increases in the flow rate. It can also be observed that the separation efficiency for
both LS1 and LS2 are closed to each other in the flow range of 200l/h to 250l/h which
means that the separation efficiency at low flow rate does not depend significantly

on the configuration of the inlet zone. Moreover it can be seen that the separation
efficiency of LS1 drops rapidly after 250 l/h. On the contrary, the separation efficiency

of both LS2 and LS3 decreases gradually after 250l/h. In general, it can be said that
the inlet configuration employed in LS3 improved both the distribution of flow within

every settler and the hydraulic behavior of the IPS, which led to an improvement in
its separation efficiency.

These results proved that the inlet structure of LS3 helpful in improving both the
48 2. Evolution design of inlet structure of countercurrent inclined plate settlers

distribution of flow within every settler and hydraulic behaviour of the IPS, both of
which improve the separation efficiency of the IPS.
49

3. Effect of optimisation of inlet zone


on the hydraulic behaviour

3.1. Introduction

As it could be demonstrated in chapter two, the inlet configuration including a nozzle

distributor of a lab scale IPS has a great impact on the improving of its hydraulic per-
formance and the separation efficiency. To achieve convenient hydraulic behaviour, the

distributor design should have simultaneously two constraints: a sufficient total area
of inlet openings, and a equal flow distribution among the openings [59]. Inadequate

design of this distributor could lead to hydraulic flow problems which are often the
reason for poor separation. Thus, optimising of the distributor is necessary to achieve
higher separation efficiency. The CFD was used to optimise the performance of many

settling tanks because it is fast, reduces the experimental demand and provides more
confident scale-up [60, 61, 62, 63].

Among the available approaches to optimisation is the response surface methodology


(RSM). ”‘RSM is combination of statistical and mathematical techniques that are

useful for modelling, improving and optimising a process”’ [64]. The RSM is considered
a global optimisation method, and it has many advantage such as, ”‘the local sensitivity

analysis is not necessary. The information can be obtained from various sources and
50 3. Effect of optimisation of inlet zone on the hydraulic behaviour

by different tools. Multiple criteria as well as multiple design point optimisations can
be handled. Parallel computations can be easily performed. And, it smooths out the
high-frequency noise of the objective function and is thus expected to find a solution

near the global optimum”’[65]. ”‘Another advantage of the RSM is its capability of
escaping local minima”’ [66].

The objective of the study in this chapter is to optimise the nozzle distributor to

maximise the hydraulic performance of the IPS, which certainly will lead to improve
the separation efficiency of the IPS. To accomplish this goal, the RSM combined with

numerical simulation is used as tool for the distributor optimisation.

3.2. Methodology

3.2.1. Geometry Details of the IPS Model

A schematic representation of the IPS configuration is shown in Figure (3.1). It consists

of two zones. The first zone (A-1) comprises both the distributor nozzle and the
sediment collection chamber and it is a pipe with diameter 80 mm and 175 mm length.
The second zone (A-2) is used as separation chamber and it has internal dimensions

of (100 mm x 80 mm x 480 mm) and three plates 300 mm long with 5 mm thick.
The spacing between the plates is 16 mm. The distributor has totally twelve outlets

at three levels. Four outlets at every level have the same height and every level has
different diameter.

3.2.2. Optimisation Methodology

Outline Description of RSM

The RSM is created based on generating an explicit approximation to an objective

function, and thereafter this approximation function is used to carry out the optimi-
3.2. Methodology 51

Figure 3.1.: Schematic of the IPS model

sation. Moreover, the RSM is used widely to solve optimisation problems because it
has the ability to reduce the number of experiments, and the optimum solution can

be obtained quickly instead of perform additional expensive analysis [67, 66].

The RSM is carried out as follows:(1) the design of experiment (DOE) which is

necessary for selecting of design points;(2) development a mathematical model with


the best fit; (3) a mathematical form involving design variables is optimised to obtain

the optimum response value; (4) finding out the direct and interactive effects of the
input parameters on the objective function by constructing two and three-dimensional
plots [68].

Among several types of DOE techniques, a central composite design (CCD) approach
is selected in this study, which is a very efficient experimental design tool [64]. CCD

is originally proposed by Box and Wilson [69] and developed later by Box and Hunter
[70]. It requires number of experiments less than the full factorial design, and gives

more information about the design space because it is a five level fractional [71]. The
52 3. Effect of optimisation of inlet zone on the hydraulic behaviour

number of experiments depends on three parts: fractional factorial two-level, axial


points at distance α from its centre and a centre point and it is calculated according
to equation (3.1) [72].

N = 2N −f + 2N + one centre point (3.1)

where N and f denote the number of factors and fractional number respectively.

The usual approach to modelling the relationship between the variables and response

is the second order parametric model. But the disadvantage of these models is that
”‘they require strong assumptions on the functional form of possibly non-linear effects
of metrical covariates”’ [73]. This problem can be relieved by using non-parametric

regression to generate the response surface. Myers [67] suggested the use of non-
parametric regression in the following three cases: (i) the main purpose of the experi-

ment is the optimisation and not the parameter interpretation; (ii) the interpreting of
estimated regression coefficients is less important, while the shape of a response surface

is more important; or (iii) ”‘the mathematical model form of the relationship between
the variables and the response is highly non-linear and not well behaved”’. The non-
parametric regression is used here because the purpose of this study is optimisation of

distributor. Non-parametric models do not assume explicit function relationships be-


tween the input variables and the response, and ”‘they estimate the regression function

directly rather than to estimate the parameters in the function”’ [74].

There are several approaches in the non-parametric regression to fit the experimen-

tal data in the literatures such as local polynomial regression, kernel regression, and
support vector regression. The support vector method (SVM) has widely been used

for modelling non-linear systems due to ”‘its assurance of global solution, which is
achieved by transforming the regression problem into a convex optimisation problem

in dual space and its higher generalisation potential”’ [75]. For details on the basics
3.2. Methodology 53

of SVM, the reader is referred to Smola and Schoelkopf [76].

Objective Function and Design Variables

Owing to the hypothesis that a uniform flow distribution among the distributor outlet
openings will enhance the hydraulic behaviour of the IPS, minimising the standard

deviation (SD) of mass flow rate through these outlets was used as objective function
for the optimisation problem subject to SD≥0. The SD is given by the following

equation: 

1 
m

SD = s(q1 , q2 , q3 , ...., qm ) =  (qi − q¯)2 (3.2)
m − 1 i=1

where qi ,i=1,2,3,....,m denotes the mass flow rates at the outlet openings, q¯ is the

average mass outflow rate and m= number of outlet openings=12. The Non-linear
Programming by Quadratic Lagrangian algorithm (NLPQL) is applied to optimise
the objective function. NLPQL is a widely used optimisation algorithm and can be

found in software packages like the IMSL Library, TOMLAB/Mathlab, OptiSLang,


ANSYS/Designexplorer and many others. The code NLPQL of Schittkowski is able to

minimise an objective function under non-linear equality and inequality constraints.


NLPQL is an implementation of a sequential quadratic programming (SQP) algorithm

[77]. SQP methods belong to the most powerful non-linear programming algorithms,
”‘which are based on the use of the gradient of the objective function and constraints,
for solving non-linear optimisation problems”’ [78]. NLPQL solves a quadratic pro-

gramming subproblem in each iteration. The quadratically approximation of the La-


grangian function and the linearising of the constraints is the basic idea of NLPQL.

Figure (3.2) shows nine design variables which were used in the distributor optimi-
sation: diameters of every level (D1 , D2 , D3 ), depth of every level (H1 , H2 , H3 ) and

height of outlet openings at every level (h1 , h2 , h3 ).


54 3. Effect of optimisation of inlet zone on the hydraulic behaviour

Figure 3.2.: Geometry of distributor

3.2.3. Numerical Analysis

In this chapter, the commercial software ANSYS CFX 12.0 was employed to optimise

the distributor and analyse the influence of the optimised distributor on the hydraulic
behaviour of the IPS. This software uses the Design Exploration approach for solving

the optimisation problems. The κ − ω model was chosen to predict the flow profile.
This model was selected in this work because the comparison between predicted data
by using the κ-ω model and experimental data in chapter two showed good agreement.

The conservation of mass and momentum were determined using the Reynolds aver-
aged Navier-Stokes as in chapter two. The residence time distribution (RTD) curve

for flow within the IPS was employed to characterise the flow pattern in the IPS, and
the tanks in series (TIS) model was used to characterise of a non-ideal flow pattern as

in chapter two.
3.3. Results and discussion 55

3.3. Results and discussion

3.3.1. Optimisation results

Numerical simulations for one hundred and forty seven design points were carried out
to optimise the shape of distributor at constant flow rate 350 l/hr. Thereafter, the

response surface was constructed from the predicted data numerically. As a result of
the optimisation, the objective function, i.e the SD, is successfully decreased for 71

% from 1.15e−4 to 3.29e−5 kgs−1 . Sensitivity analysis is used to find out which input
parameter has influence on the objective function. Figure (3.3) illustrate the results

of sensitivity analysis of each input parameters for both the non-optimised and the
optimised distributor. Here, dC stands for the percent change of input parameters
dimension, and it is varied within±8% of the optimal value. The results reveal that

the objective function is more sensitive to the diameters (D1,D2) and the height (H1),
while the other input parameters have limited sensitivity on the objective function.

Moreover, it can be observed, for instance, that the non-optimised parameter (D3) has
a strong impact on the objective function, which is vanished via the optimisation as

shown in Figures (3.3a) and (3.3d) respectively.

3.3.2. Hydraulic performance of the IPS

Numerical simulations were carried out to investigate the effect of the optimised dis-

tributor on the hydraulic performance of the IPS at three flow rates with values of
250, 300 and 350 l/hr. The mesh structures for the IPS with non-optimised distributor

and optimised distributor have 274465 and 277199 elements respectively. Hydraulic
performance will be characterised by the quality of flow distribution and flow patterns

of the entire IPS.


56 3. Effect of optimisation of inlet zone on the hydraulic behaviour

0.8

a D1 D2 D3 d D1 D2 D3

1.05

0.7
SD x 10^-4 (kg s^-1)

SD x 10^-4 (kg s^-1)


1.00

0.6

0.95
0.5

0.90 0.4
-8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8

dC [%] dC [%]

1.08 0.75

b H1 H2 H3 e H1 H2 H3

1.06 0.70

1.04 0.65
SD x 10^-4 (kg s^-1)

SD x 10^-4 (kg s^-1)

1.02 0.60

1.00 0.55

0.98 0.50

0.96 0.45

0.94 0.40
-8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8

dC [%] dC [%]

1.06 0.51

c h1 h2 h3 f h1 h2 h3

1.04 0.50
SD x 10^-4 (kg s^-1)

SD x 10^-4 (kg s^-1)

1.02 0.49

1.00 0.48

0.98 0.47

0.96 0.46

0.94 0.45
-8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8

dC [%]
dC [%]

Figure 3.3.: sensitivity analysis for parameters D, H and h showing the standard devia-
tion (SD) as function of percent change of input parameters (dC): [(a),(b)
and (c)] and [(d),(e) and (f)] for non-optimised and optimised distributor
respectively.
3.3. Results and discussion 57

4
optimised
non-optimised

3
SD [mm/s]

0
240 260 280 300 320 340 360
Flow rate [l/hr]

Figure 3.4.: Quality of flow distribution between lamella plates

Quality of flow distribution

To asses the quality of flow distribution within each settler, the flow velocity through
every settler was determined, which was derived from the calculation of velocity in the

transverse direction in the middle of the settler. Then, the SD of a set of the values of
flow velocities through every settler was utilised as a criterion for the flow distribution

efficiency. Equation (3.3) was used to calculate the SD here.



1 
m

SD =  (vi − v¯)2 (3.3)
m − 1 i=1

where vi denotes the mean velocity within each settler , v¯ is the average of these
velocities and m= number of settlers=4.

As shown in Fig. (3.4), the SD increases as the flow rate increases, indicating a

decrease in the flow distribution efficiency. Moreover it can be observed that the IPS
58 3. Effect of optimisation of inlet zone on the hydraulic behaviour

with optimised distributor improves the quality of flow distribution. The velocity
distributions on the plane at the middle of every settler are illustrated in Fig. (3.5). It
can be generally observed that in all cases, the velocities in the settlers are redistributed

due to optimisation of the distributor. Moreover, it is clear that the optimisation


causes a significant decrease in the velocity in the upper settler and increase in the

lower settler. On the other hand, this Figure shows existence of asymmetrical flow
pattern in settlers, which could be affected by the geometry of the distributor. This

pattern is created when turbulent flow passes through sudden expansion or contraction
based on the expansion or contraction ratio [79]. All these cases are realised in the
used distributor.

IPS flow pattern

RTD curves were plotted between E(θ) versus (θ) to investigate the influence of the
optimised distributor on the flow pattern of the IPS. Where θ is dimensionless time

[θ= ti /Tmean ; Tmean = theoretical mean retention time]. As can be seen from Figure
(3.6), the optimised distributor increases slightly the initial peak, which represents the

time taken to reach maximum tracer concentration, (θpeak ) approaching towards unity.
This means the hydraulic behaviour approaches plug flow conditions [8].

As mentioned earlier, the NTIS is used also to specify the flow pattern of the IPS.
Fig. (3.7) shows that the optimisation provides significantly better hydraulic perfor-

mance. Table (3.1) illustrates that the optimisation of distributor improves the NTIS
ranging between 55.7% to 68.3%. The main reason for this improvement as also shown

in Figure (3.6) could be due to the tail end of the normalised RTD curves by opti-
mised distributor is shorter which gives an indication of the recirculation regions are

decreased [47].
3.3. Results and discussion 59

Figure 3.5.: Velocity distribution in the transverse direction in the middle of the set-
tlers: (a),(b) and (c) for non-optimised distributor;(d),(e) and (f) for op-
timised distributor
60 3. Effect of optimisation of inlet zone on the hydraulic behaviour

0.06
a optimised

non-optimised
0.04
E( )

0.02

0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5

0.06
optimised
b
non-optimised
0.04
E( )

0.02

0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0

0.06
c optimised

non-optimised
0.04
E( )

0.02

0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0

Figure 3.6.: Influence of the optimisation on the RTD curves: (a)=250 l/hr; (b)=300
l/hr;(c)=350 l/hr.
3.3. Results and discussion 61

Table 3.1.: Influence of optimisation on the NTIS


Flow rate [l/hr] NTIS
Non-optimised shape Optimised shape Increment (%)
250 7.0 10.9 55.7
300 6.0 10.1 68.3
350 5.9 9.8 66.1

12
optimized
non-optimized

10
NTIS

225 250 275 300 325 350 375


Flow rate [l/hr]

Figure 3.7.: Influence of the optimisation on the calculated NTIS


62 3. Effect of optimisation of inlet zone on the hydraulic behaviour

3.3.3. Separation efficiency

It is important to study the effect of distributor optimisation on the separation effi-

ciency of the IPS model. Either a Lagrangian or an Eulerian is commonly used to


model two-phase flow processes. Eulerian approach is used for all diffusion dominated

problems such as ultrafine particles. On the other hand, the Lagrangian approach
is applied for many two-phase flow applications due to their many capabilities. The
latter approach should not be applied when the particle volume fraction exceeds 10%.

In this approach, the fluid is treated as a continuum while the particles are tracked
individually in Lagrangian manner. The Lagrangian method was adopted in this

study. Because the modelling of seperation in the IPS has some limitations, where it
is difficult to simulate some physical process such as particle resuspension. The main
proposed of this simulation was to compare the effect of distributor optimisation on

the separation efficiency rather than determine its actual efficiency.

Numerical simulation with particle tracking was carried out by adding 200 particles

to the inflow and the slip velocity between the fluid and the particles was assumed equal
to zero. The used particles were the crushed walnut shell particles, which have diameter

50 μm and their density was 1350 kg/m3 . The removal efficiency was determined at
three flow rates namely, 250 l/hr, 300 l/hr and 350 l/hr. Based on these flow rates
and solids concentration of 500 mg/l, the inlet flow rate of particles was estimated as

35 mg/s, 42 mg/s and 49 mg/s respectively. Because of the particle mass loading is
small, then the particles have not effect on the flow field (one-way coupling) [63]. The

inclination angle of the IPS was 45◦ . The separation efficiency was calculated as shown
in equation(3.4). Figure (3.8) illustrates the effect of the distributor optimisation on

separation efficiency. It can be observed that the separation efficiency is improved


3.3. Results and discussion 63

90
optimised
non-optimised
85
Separation efficiency in %

80

75

70

65

60
240 260 280 300 320 340 360
Flow rate [l/hr]

Figure 3.8.: Influence of the optimisation on the separation efficiency of the IPS model

significantly by the optimisation of the distributor ranging between 8.8% to 10.4%.

averaged volume f raction of particles @ outlet


η= (3.4)
averaged volume f raction of particles @ inlet
65

4. New concept for the disposal of


sediment in countercurrent IPS

4.1. Introduction

As mentioned earlier,in Chapter two, separation efficiency of IPS is usually well below

the theoretical performance due to many factors. One of these factors is resuspension
of sediment due to flow instabilities and shear stress between the phases as well as

between the fluid and the lamella surfaces. ”‘The phenomenon of resuspension is
the process whereby, in the presence of the interference between the feed stream and

sediment path, an initially settled layer of negatively buoyant particles is entrained


into the bulk fluid and is convected away”’ [80]. Further, in case of countercurrent IPS
the resuspension occurs especially at the entrance zone of the settlers. In an attempt

to clarify this issue, when the sediment drops from one plate and encounter with
suspension which moves in the up flow direction, the sediment will be resuspended

easily. Moreover, the resuspension strongly depends on the local values of turbulence
dissipation rate at this region, where the turbulence has an adverse factor on the

separation process and causing sediment resuspension [32, 11].

Because the resuspension problem during the separation process is one of the reasons

for reduced IPS efficiency, new approach is suggested by construction one or two
66 4. New concept for the disposal of sediment in countercurrent IPS

sediment gutter on the plates to collect the sediment and dispose it via lateral outlets,
To the best of my knowledge there is no other study dealing with this approach.

This chapter aims to identify the best possible solution for the sediment path. This
was done by investigating a number of different plate designs experimentally and com-
paring their performance with the efficiency of the countercurrent in chapter three

with respect to a decrease of the resuspension problem. Further, as there is an in-


terdependence of resuspension and entrance length, the effect of distance between the

distributor tip and the stacked inclined plate on the separation efficiency was investi-
gated and the best distance was determined.

4.2. Material and methods

4.2.1. Geometry details of the IPS test systems

Two types of lab-scale IPSs were used in this study and both were made of plexiglass.

Figure (4.1) illustrates sketches of both models. The first model (IPS1) was used to
study the effect of distance between the nozzle tip and the staked inclined plate on

the separation efficiency. The details for this model were given in chapter three.

The another model (IPS2) was used to verify the effectiveness of the newly sug-

gestion to dispose the sediment via a lateral outlets.It consists of four compartments.
The first compartment (B-1) was used for housing the distributor and it was a pipe
with diameter 90 mm and 105 mm length. The second compartment (B-2) was used

as separation chamber and it has internal dimensions of (90 mm x 90 mm x 450 mm).


The third compartment (B-3) was used for receiving the sediment which collects via

the lateral outlets and it has internal dimensions of (50 mm x 90 mm x 350 mm).
The fourth compartment (B-4) was used to receive the sediment which comes from

the second compartment and the sediment which settled in the entrance zone. This
4.2. Material and methods 67

compartment has internal dimensions of (155 mm x 90 mm x 60 mm).

Three polyvinyl-chloride plates, 300 mm long and 5 mm thick, were used in both
models, and it could be fixed at any distance from the nozzle tip. The spacing between
the plates was 16 mm in the IPS1 and 19 mm in the IPS2. Both systems were placed

on a ramp with an angle of inclination between 00 − 550 from horizontal.

4.2.2. Experimental set-up and procedures

The process flow diagram of the experimental set-up is shown in Figure (4.2). The

setup consists of two tanks; ground tank (T1) and overhead tank (T2), both of which
have volume 25 litre. Crushed walnut shell particles with averaged diameter 160 μm

were used in experiments.Two stirrers were used to maintain turbulence in the two
tanks in order to keep the particles in suspension. Pump (A) was used to convey the

suspension from tank T1 to tank T2 and the excess water was drained back to tank
T1 via an overflow line.

The procedure for the start-up of the experiment is as follows. Initially the sus-
pension was mixed well in both T1 and T2 tanks to achieve a uniform distribution.

Thereafter, valve (B) was opened to allow the suspension to fill the IPS model; then
the valve (B) was adjusted to give a flow rate of 350 l/hr, and pump (A) was turned

off. Two samples were collected from the inlet stream (1) after 2 minutes from the
onset of opening the valve (B) . On the other hand, the outlet stream sampling was
set based on the hydraulic residence time for both IPS1 and IPS2 with 50s and 65s

respectively. At the end of every experimental run, the IPS was drained and the sus-
pension returned to the tank T1 via pump (D). The duration of each experiment was

not less than 45 minutes. The concentration of particles in suspension was 1050ppm ±
10% and 1080ppm ± 7% for IPS1 and IPS2 respectively. The method for determining

the separation efficiency was given in chapter two.


68 4. New concept for the disposal of sediment in countercurrent IPS

Figure 4.1.: Isometric of IPS1 with variable entrance zone length (a) and IPS2 with
lateral sludge collector (b)
4.2. Material and methods 69

Figure 4.2.: Experimental set-up with pump(A,D),valve (B),ground tank (T1), over-
head tank (T2), rotameter (c).(1) and (2) denote the sample collection
points in the inlet and outlet streams, respectively, while (3) denotes the
stream of withdrawal concentrated sediment
70 4. New concept for the disposal of sediment in countercurrent IPS

92
30
45
90
50
55
88

Separation efficiency [%]


86

84

82

80

78

76
0 25 50 75 100 125
Length of entrance zone [mm]

Figure 4.3.: Experimental separation efficiency as function of entrance zone length and
inclination angle of the IPS1

4.3. Results and discussion

4.3.1. Impact of the entrance zone length on the separation

efficiency

The purpose of the present section is to study the dependence of the separation effi-
ciency on the distance between the distributor tip and the lower edge of the lamella

plates. The separation efficiency of the IPS1 model was investigated with four incli-
nation angles 300 , 450 , 500 and 550 , and the tested entrance zone lengths were zero,

25mm, 50mm and 100mm.

Figure (4.3) illustrates the impact of the entrance zone length on the separation

efficiency. It can be observed that, the efficiency decreases as the inclination angle
increases as expected due to the settling distance increases as the inclination angle

increases [10]. Also, it can be seen that the efficiency increases as the length of entrance
4.3. Results and discussion 71

Figure 4.4.: Increment rate of separation efficiency as function of entrance zone length
and inclination angle of the IPS1

zone increases. Moreover, It is noticeable that the slope of curves at the distance

between zero and 25mm is larger than after this distance, but the behaviour of curve
slope for 550 is different. This implies that the increment rate of separation efficiency
decreases after the distance of 25 mm. This increment rate is calculated according to

equation (4.1).

(η@ln − η@ln−1 )x100


Increment rate of separation ef f iciency = (4.1)
η@ln )

Where η and l denote the separation efficiency and entrance length respectively, while
n = 1(0 mm), 2(25 mm), 3(50 mm) and 4(100mm).

Figure (4.4) shows the dependency of increment rate of efficiency upon the length

of the entrance zone. It can be seen that the increment rate increases sharply from
zero to a maximum value between the distance l = 0 mm and l = 25 mm and then

decreases as sharply from l = 25 mm to l = 50 mm. This Figure shows also that the
72 4. New concept for the disposal of sediment in countercurrent IPS

increment rate is directly proportional to the inclination angle of the IPS1 for 300 , 450
and 500 , where the increment rate increases as the inclination angle increases. One
interesting aspect of this figure is that the increment rate of efficiency increases slightly

from 50mm to 100mm for the previous angles which indicates the best entrance zone
distance is 50mm. On the other hand, this increment rate starts to decrease at 100mm

for 550 .

In attempt to understand the reason behind these results, numerical simulations


were performed to investigate the effect of the entrance zone length on the average

of turbulence eddy dissipation (TED) at the lower edge of settlers. The TED is
selected based the discussion found in Krebs et al.[81], who mentioned that the energy

dissipation should be minimum at the inlet of clarifier, and this objective can be
accomplished by reducing the eddy scale.

The κ − ω model was chosen to predict the flow profile. The mesh structure for the

IPS1 was 620540 elements. Figure (4.5) illustrates the impact of the entrance zone
length on the TED. It can be observed that the TED value decreases dramatically be-
tween zero and 50 mm and thereafter it decreases slightly between 50mm and 100mm.

This graph explains the results discussed in Figure (4.4) for 300 , 450 and 500 . On
the other hand, the behaviour of the increment rate of efficiency with 550 is different

because the sediment velocity on plates increases as the inclination angle increases,
consequently the sediment flux rate at the lower edge of settlers could increase too.

To avoid this problem, a new approach is suggested by construction of a sediment

gutter on the plates to collect the sediment and disposes it via a lateral outlets.

4.3.2. Assessment of the IPS with lateral sludge collector

A new plate structure is proposed to eliminate the disadvantage described in the

previous section and to reduce the resuspension phenomena at the entrance of the
4.3. Results and discussion 73

Figure 4.5.: Turbulence eddy dissipation (TED) as function of entrance zone length

settlers. Figure (4.6) illustrates the details of this plate. A bar with three different

heights was fixed on the plate. The tested heights (h) were 6, 8 and 10 mm representing
32%, 43% and 53%, respectively, of the total settler height. This proposed plate was

tested with one and two bars to find out the best structure. Also, the bar was placed
on the plate with two angles of inclination 450 and 550 . The angle of inclination of
the IPS2 model was 450 .

To examine the effectiveness of the proposed plate, thirteen experiments were carried

out to investigate the impact of this plate on the separation efficiency of the IPS2
model. Table (4.1) describes the plan of these experiments.

Figure (4.7) illustrates the influence of the proposed plate on the separation effi-

ciency at different bar heights. It can be observed generally that the efficiency de-
creases slightly as the height of bar increases. Furthermore, there is an enhancement

of efficiency by implementation of the proposed plate when the height of bar repre-
sents 32% and 43% of the total settler height for both the LS1-45-6 and LS2-45-6. On

the other hand, when the height of bar represents 53% of the total settler height, the
74 4. New concept for the disposal of sediment in countercurrent IPS

Figure 4.6.: Details of plates used in the experiments


4.3. Results and discussion 75

Table 4.1.: Description of the experimental plan


Code No. of bars Inclination angle of bar Bar height [mm]
LS1-45-6 1 45 6
LS1-45-8 1 45 8
LS1-45-10 1 45 10
LS2-45-6 2 45 6
LS2-45-8 2 45 8
LS2-45-10 2 45 10
LS1-55-6 1 55 6
LS1-55-8 1 55 8
LS1-55-10 1 55 10
LS2-55-6 2 55 6
LS2-55-8 2 55 8
LS2-55-10 2 55 10
LS0 — — —

efficiency of the IPS2 model becomes lower than the efficiency of LS0 in all cases.

It is also noticeable in this Figure that the efficiency decreases as the inclination
angle of the bar increases. To address this problem, two numerical simulations, as

example, were performed to investigate the behaviour of streamlines in one settler at


two cases. The configuration of this settler was similar as used in both LS1-45-6 and
LS1-55-6, and the feed flow rate represents one-fourth the total flow rate (350l/hr)

which is used in the experimental work. Figure (4.8) shows that the presence of
the bar generates waves in the settler, and the swing of these waves increases as the

inclination angle of bar increases. This increasing in the swing of these waves could
be the reason for this problem based on the conclusion which is made by Acrivos and

Herbolzheimer [16]. As is mentioned earlier in Chapter one, they observed that the
interface between the clarified layer that formed underneath the downward facing plate
and the suspension layer generate waves, which cause instability between these layers,

and then the clarified layer is resuspended again. Consequently, the efficiency of the
settler will decrease.

Owing to the impact of hydraulic settler characteristic on its separation efficiency,


76 4. New concept for the disposal of sediment in countercurrent IPS

Figure 4.7.: Impact of the proposed plate on the separation efficiency

it is important to study the influence of the proposed plate on the hydraulic behaviour
of the IPS2 model. Numerical simulations similar to simulations in Chapter two and

three were conducted to predict RTD curve and NTIS, both of which use to describe
the flow pattern of reactors. Figures (4.9) and (4.10) illustrate the impact of the

different plate structures on the normalised RTD curve of the IPS2 model. The two
figures show that the difference of normalised RTD curves between the conventional

plate and the different proposed plates is not distinctive.

The NTIS and the mean residence time (MRT) were estimated from the RTD curves
to capture accurately the effect of the different plate structures on hydraulic perfor-

mance of IPS2 model. Figure (4.11) shows that the NTIS values for the proposed plate
are higher than the conventional plate, which indicates that the hydraulic behaviour

is better. This improvement could be because of the existence of bars increase the
convection of the suspension within settlers. Moreover, it is noticeable generally in

Figure (4.13) the lowest NTIS gives the highest separation efficiency for up to h/H
4.3. Results and discussion 77

Figure 4.8.: Velocity streamlines in two settler configurations with a bar of 6 mm height
and of two angles of inclination, 450 and 550 .
78 4. New concept for the disposal of sediment in countercurrent IPS

0.05 0.05
LS0 LS0

LS1-45-6 LS1-45-8

0.04 0.04

0.03 0.03
E( )[s-1]

E( )[s-1]
0.02 0.02

0.01 0.01

0.00 0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5

0.05 0.05
LS0 LS0

LS1-45-10 LS2-45-6

0.04 0.04

0.03 0.03
E( ) [s-1]

E( ) [s-1]

0.02 0.02

0.01 0.01

0.00 0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5

0.05 0.05
LS0 LS0

LS2-45-8 LS2-45-10

0.04 0.04

0.03 0.03
E( ) [s-1]

E( ) [s-1]

0.02 0.02

0.01 0.01

0.00 0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5

Figure 4.9.: Effect of six plate structures with a sediment gutter inclined by 450 on the
normalised RTD curve predicted by numerical simulation.
4.3. Results and discussion 79

0.05 0.05
LS0 LS0

LS1-55-6 LS1-55-8

0.04 0.04

0.03 0.03
E( ) [s-1]

E( ) [s-1]
0.02 0.02

0.01 0.01

0.00 0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5

0.05 0.05
LS0 LS0

LS1-55-10 LS2-55-6

0.04 0.04

0.03 0.03
E( ) [s-1]

E( ) [s-1]

0.02 0.02

0.01 0.01

0.00 0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5

0.05
LS0 LS0
0.05 LS2-55-8 LS2-55-10

0.04
0.04

0.03
E( ) [s-1]

E( ) [s-1]

0.03

0.02
0.02

0.01 0.01

0.00 0.00
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5

Figure 4.10.: Effect of six plate structures with a sediment gutter inclined by 550 on
the normalised RTD curve predicted by numerical simulation.
80 4. New concept for the disposal of sediment in countercurrent IPS

Figure 4.11.: Effect of the different plate structures on the NTIS

= 0.43. Also it can be seen generally the efficiency decreases as the NTIS increases.
These results are contrary to the previous results which are shown in Chapters two
and three, where the separation efficiency was high, as the NTIS was higher. This

contradiction could be attributed to existence of waves which are generated by using


the bars, and they have negative effect on the settling process. While, in these two

chapters, the efficiency of separation has improved due to both the hydraulic perfor-
mance and the flow distribution in each settler has been improved, and both of which

have positive impact on the separation efficiency. These results also indicate that the
higher separation efficiency does not depend on the hydraulic performance alone, but
on many other factors as described by Kuoppamaeki and Okoth et al. [56, 32].

Figure (4.12) shows that the MRT decreases as the hight of bar increases as expected
and the longest MRT was for LS1-45-6 which has given the best efficiency.
4.3. Results and discussion 81

Figure 4.12.: Effect of the different plate structures on the mean residence time of IPS2
model
82 4. New concept for the disposal of sediment in countercurrent IPS

9.0
h/H=0.32 h/H=0.32
80

8.5

Separation efficiency [%]


78

8.0
NTIS

76

7.5
74

7.0 72
LS1-45 LS2-45 LS1-55 LS2-55 LS1-45 LS2-45 LS1-55 LS2-55

Plate type Plate type


9.5
h/H=0.43 h/H=0.43
80
9.0

Separation efficiency [%] 78


8.5
NTIS

76
8.0

74
7.5

7.0 72
LS1-45 LS2-45 LS1-55 LS2-55 LS1-45 LS2-45 LS1-55 LS2-55
Plate type Plate type
9.5
h/H=0.53 h/H=0.53
80
9.0
Separation efficiency [%]

78
8.5
NTIS

76
8.0

74
7.5

7.0 72
LS1-45 LS2-45 LS1-55 LS2-55 LS1-45 LS2-45 LS1-55 LS2-55
Plate type Plate type

Figure 4.13.: Comparison of effect of the different plate structures on the NTIS and
the separation efficiency
83

5. Concluding remarks and future


work

The countercurrent inclined plate settlers (IPS) system is faced with two general prob-

lems, which are the flow distribution between the settlers and the resuspension of
sediment occur at the inlet zone of settlers, and both of which are influenced by the

inlet zone configuration. In this study, these problems were addressed to improve the
separation efficiency of IPS.
A nozzle distributor was used in feeding a lab-scale IPS to avoid the problems which

could be caused by feeding these settlers by a lateral feed box as explained in Chapter
one. A Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) model was used for simulating the

hydraulic behaviour of this IPS, and validate the CFD simulation with experimental
data. Two turbulent models (κ −  model and κ − ω model) were implemented in this

simulation to predict both velocity flow field and RTD curve.


The results have shown that feeding the lab-scale IPS via this nozzle has a great
impact on the quality of flow distribution between the settlers, on flow patterns of the

entire IPS system and on separation efficiency could be clearly demonstrated via CFD
simulation and experiments at different flow rates. Also, the comparison between CFD

simulation and experimental data showed better agreement for the κ − ω model than
the κ −  model.

Furthermore, the results show that the inlet structure of LS3 is helpful in improving
84 5. Concluding remarks and future work

both the distribution of flow within every settler and hydraulic behaviour of the IPS,
both of which could improve the separation efficiency of the IPS.

To the best of my knowledge there is no other study dealing with the effect of inlet

zone configuration on the hydraulic characteristic of countercurrent IPS. This study


proved that the RTD curve is an effective tool for modelling the hydraulic behaviour
of the IPS, and the results proved that the prediction of the RTD curve depends to a

great degree on the modelling accuracy of the distributor.

Based on the previous results which have shown that the distributor has a great
impact on the improving of hydraulic performance and the separation efficiency, the

response surface methodology (RSM) combined with numerical simulation was used to
optimise this distributor, and consequently achieve satisfactory separation efficiency.

The results have shown that the effectiveness of the objective function that is con-

structed based on the hypothesis that the uniformity of flow distribution provided by
the distributor outlet openings will enhance the hydraulic behaviour of the IPS.

Moreover, this objective function could be optimised successfully with the NLPQL
algorithms, and this objective function has appeared very well suited to improve the

hydraulic performance, flow distribution between the settlers and the separation effi-
ciency of the IPS by more than 68%, 65% and 10% respectively, but an asymmetrical

flow pattern is observed in settlers affecting by the geometry of this distributor.

The separation efficiency of the IPS also depends significantly on the entrance zone
length which can be determined based on the value of the turbulence eddy dissipation

at lower edge of the settlers.

The use of an sediment gutter on the plates with an inclination angle to collect
the sediment and disposes it via a lateral outlets is an effective tool to improve the

separation efficiency.

The results have shown that the inclined sediment gutter with heights up to 43%
85

from the total settler height and inclination angle of up to 450 give separation efficiency
better than the traditional plates. Furthermore, increase of the number of sediment
gutter caused decrease in the separation efficiency possibly due to formation of waves

which cause instability within settlers. Also, this inclined sediment gutter does not
have a great impact on the hydraulic behaviour of the entire IPS system.

Numerical simulations have shown that an increase of the inclination angle of sed-
iment gutter increase the swing of waves, which could be the reason for a decrease

in the efficiency of IPS. Moreover, these simulations demonstrated the existence of


asymmetry of flow in settlers due to the disposal the sediment from one side only,

which possibly also causes instability for the suspension in the settlers. The results
also indicate that separation efficiency does not depend on improving the hydraulic
performance of IPS alone, but on many other factors such as geometry of settlers,

inclination angle of IPS and properties of suspension.

The prediction of the RTD curve depends on the accuracy of the modelling of

the distributor, and there was little qualitative discrepancy between the predicted
RTD curve by the κ-ω model and the experimental results. This discrepancy could

be because of existing eddies of a wide range of length scale in the boundary layer,
which are totally modelled in the κ-ω model. Further work needs to be undertaken to
improve the prediction of the RTD curve by using other models, such as a large-eddy

simulation model. This model has the capability of resolving the three-dimensional
time-dependent details of the large and medium (i.e., resolved) scales, whereas the

effects of the small unresolved eddies are modelled with a sub-grid turbulence model.

To validate the use of a nozzle distributor in a larger size IPS instead of a small

laboratory model would provide inside whether the models describe the system reliably.

Due to observation of an asymmetrical flow pattern in settlers affecting by the

geometry of distributor, more constraints should be added to avoid this problem.


86 5. Concluding remarks and future work

Modelling the flow of suspension above an inclined sediment gutter could allow to
optimise both its height and inclination angle. Also to avoid asymmetry of flow in
settlers due to disposal the sediment from one side, more experiments are requested

on the disposal of sediment from two sides.


87

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ERKLÄRUNG

Hiermit versichere ich, Ahmed Ibrahim Salem Youssef geboren am 06. 02. 1971, dass
ich die vorliegende Dissertation mit dem Titel ”On fluid dynamics of lamella separator

modelling and process optimisation”

1. ohne unerlaubte Hilfe angefertigt habe.

2. keine anderen als die von mir angegebenen Quellen und Hilfsmittel benutzt habe
und

3. die den benutzten Werken wörtlich oder inhaltlich entnommenen Stellen als

solche kenntlich gemacht habe.

Bremen, den 10. Januar 2012