Aggregation and breakage of aggregates of fully destabilized polystyrene latex particles in turbulent flow was studied experimentally in both batch and continuous stirred tanks. Small-angle static light scattering (SASLS) was used to monitor the time evolution of two independent moments of the cluster mass distribution (CMD), namely, the mean radius of gyration and the zero angle scattered light intensity. In addition, information about the structure of the aggregates was obtained in terms of the static light scattering structure factor. It was observed that decreasing the solid volume fraction over more than one order of magnitude resulted in monotonically decreasing steady-state values of both moments of the CMD. Using a combination of batch operation and continuous dilution with particle-free solution in the stirred tank, it was found that the steady-state distributions were fully reversible upon changing the solid volume fraction. These observations indicate that the steady-state CMD in this system is controlled by the dynamic equilibrium between aggregation (with the second-order kinetics in cluster concentration) and breakage (with the first-order kinetics in cluster concentration). In addition, by dilution to very low solid volume fractions, we demonstrate the existence of a critical aggregate size below which breakage is negligible.
- polystyrene latex particles
- stirred tank