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Numerical simulation and exploration of electrocoagulation process for arsenic and antimony removal: Electric field, flow field, and mass transfer studies

Song, Peipei, Song, Qianqian, Yang, Zhaohui, Zeng, Guangming, Xu, Haiyin, Li, Xin, Xiong, Weiping
Journal of environmental management 2018 v.228 pp. 336-345
anodes, antimony, arsenic, cathodes, convection, electric field, electrocoagulation, electrolysis, hydrolysis, iron, mass transfer, mathematical models, mixing, pollutants
In order to intuitively and clearly evaluate the potential and current distribution, the fluid flow and mixing, as well as mass transfer involved in electrocoagulation process for As and Sb removal, numerical simulation of electric field, flow field and mass transfer were constructed by Comsol Multiphysics and verified by experiments. Results displayed that the primary current and potential distribution were improved by changing electrode distance or adding insulator in a batch reactor. When configuration 2 and 2 cm electrode distance were applied, a more uniform primary current distribution and higher electrode current efficiency were obtained. In a continuous flow reactor, the increase of flow rate resulted in the left shift of the peak in residence time distribution curve, gradual decrease of the tailing area, reduction of the stagnation zone, and more uniform mixing of the fluid. However, higher than 0.043 L/min was unfavorable to the formation of flocs and its effective combination with pollutants. According to the simulation of mass transfer, at the initial stage, the rate of electrolysis/hydrolysis was greater than that of mass transfer. Fe²⁺, OH⁻, and Fe(OH)2 were primarily concentrated on the anode, cathode, and between the two electrodes, respectively. Under the action of electromigration, diffusion and convection, the concentration distribution of Fe(OH)2 increased at the direction of streamline. The concentration of Fe²⁺ and OH⁻ achieved the minimum value at the outlet. However, Fe(OH)⁺ concentration and distribution were hardly affected by the treatment time, and once generated, immediately proceed to the next hydrolysis reaction.