Experimental and Theoretical Evaluation of the Filtration Mechanisms for a Magnetic Separations Process

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Noonan, Jeremy Shawn
Tsouris, Costas
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High-Gradient Magnetic Separation (HGMS) is a powerful separation process that has great potential for industrial wastewater treatment, particularly for the removal and recovery of paramagnetic colloidal particles. The chief advantages of HGMS are that the separation is reversible and potentially selective. However, these advantages are compromised if non-magnetic filtration mechanisms influence significantly the capture of particles. The objective of this study was to identify the chief mechanisms responsible for the removal of ferric oxide (Fe2O3) from water by an HGMS process. This objective was achieved by measuring the effects of applied magnetic induction, collector radius, and fluid velocity on the removal efficiency (RE) of a stainless-steel filter column. These factors were tested on the removal of bare Fe2O3 particles and particles treated with a surfactant (sodium dodecyl sulfate, SDS). The results were compared to the predictions of a trajectory model which simulates particle capture by a magnetic force. The experimental results show that non-magnetic force mechanisms are primarily responsible for the removal of bare Fe2O3 particles for the experimental conditions used in this work. For these particles, the three factors tested had no significant effect on the RE, and 90.1% of the particles were removed without a magnetic force. These results differed sharply from modeling predictions. However, the magnetic force mechanism is primarily responsible for the removal of surfactant-treated Fe2O3 particles. The three factors investigated had a marked effect on the RE, and only 10.8% of the particles were removed without a magnetic force. An increase in magnetic induction from 0.2 to 0.5 T increased the RE from 79.9 to 93.4 %; a decrease in wire radius from 49 to 15 Ym increased the RE from 60.2 to 93.4%, and a decrease in fluid velocity from 0.5 to 0.1 cm/s increased the RE from 69.5 to 95.3%. These results agreed closely with the model predictions.This study demonstrates that by reducing the effect of attractive non-magnetic forces on filtration, surfactant treatment of colloidal particles can potentially preserve and enhance these two key advantages, i.e., regeneration and selectivity of HGMS processes.
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