metadata only access
Settling is an important solid-liquid separation process in wastewater treatment. While solids concentration is an important factor influencing settling velocity of particles, other solids characteristics including particle size, shape, and structure also play an important role in settling rate. The `compactness` of bacterial aggregates in particular is recognized to exert a great influence on solid phase dynamic behavior since it has a substantial effect on fluid flow through the aggregate, which, in turn, affects the particles buoyancy. With the recognition that biosolids structure can be described by fractal methods, we now have a convenient means of parameterizing aggregate `compactness.` In this article, we examine the fractal nature of bacterial aggregates (which are the main component of the solids in wastewater treatment processes) using small angle light-scattering methods and assess the impact of aggregate compactness (as described by fractal dimension) on settling velocity of both single aggregates and large aggregate clusters. The results indicate that settling velocity is strongly dependent on both size and aggregate structure, with the larger and less compact flocs settling more quickly as a result of the significant extent of flow through the bacterial assemblages.