Sedimentation is a natural phenomenon on which the most frequent unit operations using relative flow of macrofluids are based. Its most significant applications in process engineering have separative purposes, often in the field of wastewater conditioning and treatment. Knowledge of settling mechanisms and the reliable design of high-performance, flexible settlers are two objectives seldom achieved. Many of the advances in theoretical knowledge do not automatically imply relevant achievements in practice in treatment plants. So, the best way to identify the main operative problems is by examining the areas in which inventors are claiming their patents. This article deals with the advances developed in recent years in this field. The related patents were first subjected to thorough individual analysis and later classified into three categories: study of the phenomenon itself, improvements in design and applications.
Keywords: Sedimentation, sedimentators, settlers, settling tanks, solid-liquid separation
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