Certain processes are responsible for making sure specific liquids are pure and clean enough for human use and consumption. There are also similar processes for removing contaminants from water to reduce its effect on the environment, or to prevent contaminants from causing problems in certain industries.
Removal of Particles
One of the most commonly used processes for removing particles from water is flocculation. Ashton Tucker Water Treatment explains that through the process, microscopic particles are forced to bind together to form bigger particles.
The process may happen naturally in some instances. One example is oil spilled in water. Oil bands together on its own, given the right circumstances. It may also be forced to happen artificially, as in the treatment of water.
There are particular applications for the process. The most common example is the purification of water to make it safe to drink and for use in other pursuits. Sewage treatment is also an example where the process is widely used.
In the food industry, it is used for the production of cheese, brewing, and in the separation of salt from seawater.
How It Works
Though flocculation may happen naturally, in many circumstances, a “flocculant” is used to make it artificially occur. The process makes particles (even microscopic) in a solution attract each other by removing the forces that make the particles repel each other. Bigger particles are formed; these formations are called “flocs”, or “flakes”. Traditional methods of filtration can remove the flocs from the solution.
Application in Water Purification
Billions of microscopic particles are present in water. Dirt, dust, and most airborne particles end up in bodies of water. A flocculant is added to remove such particles. The flocculant causes them to bond and form flocs that either float or fall to the bottom. The filtration process finishes the job, resulting in cleaner water. These particles may be microscopic, but they may still affect the taste and appearance of the water. Some microscopic substances may also cause diseases.
This process is extremely useful, particularly for the purification of liquids. Its uses also apply to civil engineering, biology, and chemistry.