High-Speed Imaging of Polymer Induced Fiber Flocculation
Hartley, William H.
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This study presents quantitative results on the effect on individual fiber length during fiber flocculation. Flocculation was induced by a cationic polyacrylamide (cPAM). A high speed camera recorded 25 second video clips. The videos were image-analyzed and the fiber length and the amount of fiber in each sample were measured. Prior to the flocculation process, fibers were fractionated into short and long fibers. Trials were conducted using the unfractionated fiber, short fiber, and long fiber. The short and long fibers were mixed in several trials to study the effect of fiber length. The concentration of cPAM was varied as well as the motor speed of the impeller (RPM). It was found that the average fiber length decreased more rapidly with increasing motor speed. Increasing the concentration of cPAM also led to a greater decrease in average fiber length. A key finding was that a plateau was reached where further increasing the amount of cPAM had no effect. Hence, fibers below a critical length resisted flocculation even if the chemical dose or shear was increased. This critical length was related to the initial length of the fiber.
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