This paper concerns experimental investigation of the sequenced flocculation of latex particles in a Taylor-Couette reactor. The aim of this work was to investigate the evolution of both the size and the shape of aggregates under sequenced hydrodynamics. A number of studies have focused on the evolution of the aggregate size or size distribution during steps of growth-breakage-regrowth, but aggregates generally experience steps of breakage-regrowth on repeated occasions in real operating conditions (passages near the impeller or during the transfer processes, for example).
The experiments conducted in this work consisted thus of an alternation of six steps with alternately low and high shear rates under turbulent conditions. The particle size distributions were monitored throughout the sequencing, and the circularity and convexity (shape parameters) distributions were measured, enabling a more precise description of the entire floc population, rather than a fractal dimension.
While the aggregate size distribution was clearly controlled by hydrodynamics, the shape distributions continuously evolved during the sequencing. The main new finding of our work notes the independence between the aggregate shape and hydrodynamics. Indeed, after multiples steps of breakage-regrowth, regardless of the aggregate size distribution and hydrodynamics, the aggregate shape seemed to reach a unique steady-state morphological distribution. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.