The Science Behind Oil Water Separators

Have you ever heard of oil water separators? Have you ever wondered what they are used for? These devices are used in a variety of industries. The video provides a clear and concise guide to how they work. The purpose of an oil water separator is to treat wastewater so that it can be safely discharged.

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The device, as its name implies, removes hydrocarbons from water, making the latter non-hazardous.

Oil water separators are made of coalescing plates. Oily water passes through the plates horizontally. As it does so, the small oil droplets rise up to the underside of the plates, where they are made to stick by Van Der Wall forces, which is a physical phenomenon that operates at the molecular level. These forces are weak, so the droplets don’t stick very well. As droplets come along, they form a film on the underside of the plates. The film becomes big enough so that its buoyancy overcomes the van der walls forces and starts to slide up the underside of the plates. When this happens, the oil droplets come to the peaks of the plates and then out of them to the surface of the separator system. Now you know the science behind oil separators.


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