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Flocculation

  • By: Kyle R. Hodder
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Flocculation is the process by which small primary particles in an aqueous suspension join to form a larger secondary, or composite, particle. Although the term composite particle encompasses all multigrain suspended sediment particles, the term flocculation refers to all processes by which suspended particles are brought together in water to create larger units termed flocs. This distinguishes flocs from aggregates, which are composite particles formed in a nonaqueous medium. In engineered systems, flocculation has been referred to variously as aggregation, agglomeration, and coagulation, but the result is still the formation of larger composite particles. In natural systems, flocculation is known best in estuaries and open-ocean environments but has also been documented in freshwater fluvial and lacustrine environments. Flocculation is an important aspect of water quality ...

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