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Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 143–157 | Cite as

Flocculation and particle size analysis of expansive clay sediments affected by biological, chemical, and hydrodynamic factors

  • Xiaoling Tan
  • Liming Hu
  • Allen H. Reed
  • Yoko Furukawa
  • Guoping ZhangEmail author
Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on the 11th International Conference on Cohesive Sediment Transport

Abstract

Expansive clay sediments are abundant in riverine and estuarine waters and bottom beds, and their particle size distributions (PSD) are important for the analysis of sediment transport. This paper presents an experimental study to evaluate, using a laser particle size analyzer under varying flow conditions, the intrinsic PSD of two expansive clays, a Ca- and a Na-montmorillonite and the influence of biological, chemical, and hydrodynamic factors on their flocculation and PSD. The considered biological factor consists of three extracellular polymeric substances of varying polarity, including xanthan gum, guar gum, and chitosan; the chemical factor is the salinity; and the hydrodynamic factor is the types of flow indicated by the Reynolds number and shear rate. The intrinsic PSD of both clays show a multimodal lognormal distribution with sizes ranging from 0.2 to 50 μm. All three biopolymers, xanthan gum, guar gum, and chitosan, can facilitate flocculation through long-range polymer bridging and short-range ion-dipole interaction, hydrogen bonding, and Coulomb force. The influence of salinity is different for the two clays: the particle size of the Na-montmorillonite increases with salinity, which is caused by flocculation resulting from the suppressed electrical double layer, while that of the Ca-montmorillonite is slightly reduced owing to the decreased basal spacing and cation exchange. For different hydrodynamic conditions, higher shear rate promotes the flocculation of Ca-montmorillonite, but breaks the Na-montmorillonite flocs. The significance of understanding the flocculation and PSD of expansive clays is also discussed in terms of sediment transport under different aquatic environments.

Keywords

Extracellular polymeric substances Expansive clays Flocculation Hydrodynamics Particle size Salinity 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was partially supported by the Office of Naval Research (award no. N00173-10-1-G013) under program element number 0601153N. GZ was partially supported by the Overseas Collaboration Award of NSFC (grant no. 51128901). XT received the LSU Graduate School Economic Development Assistantship and a Supplement Award. The facilities used in this study were purchased using the fund from the Louisiana Board of Regents Enhancement Program.

Notations

D0

Internal diameter of pipe

D

Mean diameter of all flocs and particles within a given size range

DA

Impeller diameter

ε0

Permittivity of vacuum

ε

Dielectric constant

\( \overline{\varepsilon} \)

Average turbulent energy dissipation per unit time and mass

f

Friction factor

G

Average shear rate

k

Boltzmann constant

l

Diameter of a particle or floc

n

Number of particles at a fixed size

nj

Mean concentration of the jth ion species

Np

Power number of stirrer

Ω

Angular velocity of impeller in the stirring bath of PSA

ρ

Fluid density

qj

Valence of the jth ion species

Q

Flow rate in pipe

R0

Internal radius of pipe

Re

Reynolds number

tD

Debye length

T

Absolute temperature

μ

Fluid dynamic viscosity

v0

Mean flow velocity in pipe

v

Kinematic viscosity of the liquid

V

Volume of the stirring bath of PSA

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoling Tan
    • 1
  • Liming Hu
    • 2
  • Allen H. Reed
    • 3
  • Yoko Furukawa
    • 3
  • Guoping Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Hydro-Science & Engineering, Department of Hydraulic EngineeringTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Naval Research LaboratoryStennis Space CenterUSA

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