Emulsion Polymer Activation

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What are polymers?

Polymers are very long chained molecules that act like magnets. They attract suspended particles, thereby forming larger solids that are more easily de-watered or settled. Polymers can have a negative charge (Anionic); a positive charge (Cationic); or a neutral charge (Non-ionic).

Polymers are normally shipped in a concentrated oil based solution. The solution is normally either an emulsion or dispersion. Emulsion normally contain oil and up to 35% active polymers. Dispersions normally contain oil, water, and up to 50% active polymers.

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How to activate Emulsion Polymers?

Before the polymer can be used, it has to be activated and diluted. Polymer activation is the process of stripping the oil off the polymer molecule and exposing the polymer to water. At the moment that the polymer is exposed to water, sufficient energy has to be added to very quickly disperse all the microscopic molecules and strip the oil off them. When the polymer is exposed to water it absorbs the water, unwinds, and extends. Maximum activation is achieved when all the polymer molecules have completely extended. Polymers are normally diluted to concentrations of 0.1% to 1.0%.

Failure to add enough energy during activation results in the formation of agglomerations, also called “fish-eyes”. “Fish-eyes” are nearly impossible to disperse. Adding more energy after activation will result in the breaking of the extended polymer molecules. The formation of “fish-eyes” or the breaking of the polymer molecules will cause higher polymer consumption.

The ideal polymer activation system is one that exposes the polymer to the largest amount of energy for shortest amount of time. Systems that generate lower energy levels require that the solution be exposed to the energy source for longer periods of time. The lower energy levels will result in the formation of “fish-eyes”. The longer exposure times will result in the breaking of some activated polymer chains.

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How does Excell do it?

The Excell Liquid Polymer Feeders activate polymer by using our patented, motor-less, high energy, activation apparatus. The EXCELL Polymer activation apparatus provides the high energy needed to activate all types of liquid polymers.

Excell’s activation apparatus is superior to other motor-less systems because it does not rely on high water flows to create the energy needed for activation. It injects the polymer into the dilution water stream and immediately makes the solution flow through a low pressure, high energy, activation nozzle.

The apparatus operates like a low pressure homogenizer. The polymer is activated as it passes through the annular nozzle orifice. The pressure drop accross the nozzle is only 10 psi. This accelerates the solution to a velocity of about 40 ft/sec. The very high turbulence generated at the orifice is what activates the polymer. The polymer is exposed to this high activation energy only once, as it passes through the orfice. This prevents the accumulation of “fish eyes” and prevents breakup of uncoiled polymer molecules.

Excell maximizes the efficiency of the energy available in the water supply. It requires less than 20 psi to operate properly. The Excell also self-compensates for fluctuations in the flow rate of the polymer and the water. This assures that the amount of polymer activating energy per unit volume of flow is constant for the flow range of the feeder.

The activation apparatus components are made of thermoplastics. The components are made of PVC, Teflon, and polypropylene. The spring is made of PVDF coated stainless steel. The entire assembly is assembled with stainless steel rods, and O-Rings. The assembly can be easily dismantled and reassembled for quick repairs.

The injection valve has a PVDF body, a Viton seat, and a Hastelloy spring. It is externally mounted for easy access.

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