Flocculation of Fine Particles in SuspensionWater resource management is an issue of growing concern for Australia. This research group is seeking to improve the efficiency of water use in industry. Significant amounts of water are lost during processing, by passing out in the spent tailings from mines, for instance, or in sewage sludge. The researchers are looking for ways to reduce losses by controlling filter cake and sediment properties, using polymer flocculation, depletion flocculation and hetero-coagulation.
This group is seeking a good fundamental understanding of the factors required to form aggregates of desired properties (ie, size, compactness and strength) in order to optimise many industrial solid-liquid separation applications. Their approach involves direct aggregate structure measurements, detailed particle interaction force and interfacial absorption studies. They also work on the production of dense hydrophobic aggregates for flotation, a core project of the Centre since its inception, where they have made considerable progress. The scope is now being broadened to consider other properties of flocs and sediments, with the results being applied to solve industrial dewatering and filtration problems.