The physical and hydrodynamic properties of kaolin flocs including floc size, strength, regrowth, fractal structure and settling velocity were investigated by in situ particle image velocimetry technique at different humic acid concentration. Jar-test experimental results showed that the adsorbed humic acid had a significant influence on the coagulation process for alum and ferric chloride. Kaolin flocs formed with the ferric chloride were larger and stronger than those for alum at same humic acid concentration. Floc strength and regrowth were estimated by strength factor and recovery factor at different humic acid concentration. It was found that the increased humic acid concentration had a slight influence on the strength of kaolin flocs and resulted in much worse floc regrowth. In addition, the floc regrowth after breakage depended on the shear history and coagulants under investigation. The changes in fractal structure recorded continuously by in situ particle image velocimetry technique during the growth-breakage-regrowth processes provided a supporting information that the kaolin flocs exhibited a multilevel structure. It was proved that the increased humic acid concentration resulted in decrease in mass fractal dimension of kaolin flocs and consequently worse sedimentation performance through free-settling and microbalance techniques.
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