Operating Variables

Design variables affect clarification and cake dryness. The design and application determine the bowl diameter, length, beach angle, and conveyor configuration. The bowl capacity is proportional to the length at a given diameter; the angle of the conical beach, normally 5 to 10°, can affect the discharge of solids.

Wastewater treatment facilities can adjust the bowl speed, relative conveyor speed, and pond depth to change the performance after installation. Relative conveyor speed is basically set by gearbox design but is also controlled by an external drive or braking assembly attached to the pinion shaft of the box. The lowest differential speed compatible with adequate solids removal is the optimum choice because it decreases turbulence, increases drainage time, and decreases the linear velocity between the conveyor, bowl, and solids and, consequently, the associated abrasion. The pond depth adjustment is a compromise between better clarification in a deeper bond and a dryer cake from a shallower pond.

The process variables are primarily the feed rate and the addition of chemicals. Increasing the feed rate characteristically reduces recovery (see Figure 7.48.6) and increases the cake dryness due to the selective loss of finer material.

Adding polymeric or other coagulants in 0.1 to 0.2% solution internally to the pond or before the centrifuge improves recovery but at a cost (see Figure 7.48.7). Cationic polymers are usually best for sewage unless alum or lime addition requires a shift to anionic. Since the feed rate per centrifuge determines the number and size of the units to meet the plant capacity, unnecessarily high recoveries are costly in capital expenses and/or polymer usage.

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