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On the Mechanics of Sedimentation in Artificial Basins


McLaughlin, Ronald Theodore (1958) On the Mechanics of Sedimentation in Artificial Basins. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/0AB9-FS61.


A theoretical and experimental study was made of the quiescent settling of the particles of a suspension in order to determine what governs the removal of particles when the suspension passes through a sedimentation basin. Settling column experiments were performed in tubes ranging from one foot to four feet in depth. Glass spheres in water, alum and clay in water, and Pasadena sewage were used as suspensions. While the suspensions settled in the columns, samples were withdrawn at time intervals at several depths. These were analyzed for concentration of suspended particles. It was found that for free, quiescent settling of discrete particles, the removal of particles can be calculated in advance if the frequency distribution of particle settling velocities and the particle concentration are known as functions of position in the suspension at the beginning of settling. For a suspension of flocculent particles it was almost impossible to predict removal without measuring the settling properties of each individual suspension. There is no single universal property of a settling tank with which removal is correlated. It was found that while for some flocculent suspensions removal may be strongly dependent upon detention time, no strong dependence on overflow rate was indicated. Since so many suspensions encountered in settling tanks have flocculent particles, the kinetics of flocculation was studied qualitatively by theory and experiment.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Civil Engineering and Chemical Engineering)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Civil Engineering
Minor Option:Chemical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • McKee, Jack E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1958
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-02022006-084546
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:456
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:06 Feb 2006
Last Modified:16 Oct 2023 22:38

Thesis Files

PDF (McLaughlin_rt_1958.pdf) - Final Version
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