Mono- and multi-diameter approaches to predict stratified flow structure by means of CFD simulations in DAF systems
This paper presents a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model of a pilot scale dissolved air flotation (DAF) tank. A Multiphase Mixture model was used to analyse the influence of bubble sizes on the formation of a stratified flow structure. Critical bubble diameter is defined as the size of the bubble that implies the equality of the bubble rising velocity and flow downward velocity in the separation zone (SZ). The fact as to whether using air bubble sizes which are greater or less than the critical diameter value significantly affects the air content, flow structure and the limit of the whitewater blanket inside the SZ is assessed. The study was carried out using two approaches, namely, mono-and multi-diameter. The results obtained via the mono-diameter approach proved to be closely in line with experimental data when air concentration in the SZ had almost, but not quite, a constant value. However, it failed to predict the case of the progressive decrease in air below half of SZ height. A combined effect of bubbles with different rising speed was required to reproduce a smooth air profile curve, as measured experimentally. In this context, a multi-diameter approach is deemed to be a suitable method for reproducing the stratified structure. In addition, this approach offers the chance to study bubble size distribution inside the SZ domain.