Oil water separators are devices which use different procedures to separate oil from water. Industrial pollutants from areas like chemical plants, oil refineries and off shore rigs make their way to the water which results from air compression. Separators were devised to separate liquids from solids in the wastewater when leaving a coating of water behind for reuse and recycling or to minimize the number of pollutants in wastewater drainage. The American Petroleum Institute has been the first institution to develop the oil water separators. In partnership with the Rex Chain Belt Company, what is now called an API separator was created. Since following the very first separator was set up in Philadelphia, nearly all refineries and plants with wastewater treatment facilities have utilized the API style separators.
The original design relies on gravity to the separation of oil from water. Using physics and Stokes’ Law, API separators ascertain the speed of which oil droplets increase while solids sink through water. This produces a layer of petroleum to be skimmed off the surface and a base layer to be eliminated by using a chain and flight scraper and a sludge pump. What’s left is a coating of wastewater that is then sent on for additional treatment to remove any residual debris and oil. While the design of separador de agua e oleo, there was definite room for improvement. A downside to the initial design was that the quantity of water necessary for processing which in turn demanded a big enough tank to house the separation. To answer this, the coalescing layout was invented. Known as parallel plates or corrugated plates, how big the tank has been cut down while the practice of separation generally remained the same. By providing a larger surface area in the direct channel of a wastewater flow, the efficacy of separation increased and the demand for big tanks diminished.
As regulations and Guidelines regarding wastewater and the environment grew more and more rigorous, improvements to both API and parallel oil water separators are made. While gravity separation has remained a constant in device design, chemically assisted separation and air flotation methods also have been used. Chemical induction units are utilized to raise the speed of which chemical reactions occur, thus minimizing the amount of energy necessary for separation. Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) and Induced Air Flotation (IAF) are two methods often matched with parallel plate oil water separators to ease separation also.