Numerical simulation and experimental verification of particle coagulation dynamics for a pulsed input

J Colloid Interface Sci. 2003 Jun 1;262(1):149-61. doi: 10.1016/S0021-9797(03)00194-2.


Mathematical simulation of particle coagulation dynamics was carried out using improved sectional modeling techniques for a system with a pulsed input of primary particles. The methodological improvement included the modification of the size density function based on a realistic assumption of particle size distributions, the application of a new and comprehensive curvilinear collision model, and special adjustment for the mass transfer of a doublet of particles that were very different in size. The simulation results demonstrated that the rectilinear model over-predicted the rate of particle coagulation and that the degree of over-prediction increased as the particles increased in size and the system became more heterogeneous. The coagulation rate increased remarkably as the fractal dimension of the particle aggregates decreased. The curvilinear model and the fractal scaling relationship in place of the rectilinear model and the Euclidean sizing geometry are two important modifications to the conventional Smoluchowski modeling approach. However, both modifications, rather than only one of them, should be applied together to produce more accurate and realistic simulations of coagulation dynamics. As indicated by the simulation, the importance of fluid shear rate to particle coagulation is reduced according to the curvilinear model compared to that previously described with the rectilinear model. As particles increased in size, the role of shear rate in coagulation became even less significant according to the curvilinear view of particle collisions. The results of numerical simulations in terms of the evolution of particle size distributions compared reasonably well with the observations of the jar-test coagulation experiments, which suggested the applicability of the modeling system, including the modified curvilinear-fractal approach, established in the present study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation*
  • Flocculation*
  • Fractals
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Particle Size