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Degrees of separation


Clean water: is there ever enough of it? There could be — if we had eco-friendly, highly configurable systems that quickly and affordably separate unwanted particles from underutilized water sources. At PARC, scientists have been exploring ways to extend their core competencies in printing, imaging, and particulate manipulation to help solve big cleantech industry problems. This effort has resulted in the development of a liquid purification platform with the potential to transform the treatment of municipal water, wastewater, and seawater, the cooling of power plants, algae dewatering, industrial liquids, and so forth. Now in prototype form, this breakthrough concept comprises two simple approaches: one for aggregation and conditioning, and an innovative method for hydrodynamic separation, especially of neutrally buoyant suspensions. This talk will describe how we induce precipitation or suspension formation from dissolved materials, promote aggregation of smaller suspensions into larger and more robust agglomerates, and capture for reuse of volume-dispersed carrier suspensions to treat contaminants. Using this purely fluidic, continuous flow clarification method, which uses no membrane, results in 50% reduction in chemicals conventionally required for water treatment.


Lean, M. Degrees of separation: a new approach to enhancing water quality... and harvesting suspensions. PARC Forum; 2009 May 28; Palo Alto, CA.