The importance of current distribution and cell hydrodynamic analysis for the design of electrocoagulation reactors

Armando Vázquez, José Luis Nava, Roel Cruz, Isabel Lázaro, Israel Rodríguez
J. Chem. Technol. Biot., 89 (2014) 220-229, 2014.


The effects of current distribution and cell hydrodynamics on the performance of an electrocoagulation (EC) reactor were studied. This analysis only considered the distributions of primary potential and current density.The hydrodynamic behavior was analyzed by means of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) using a turbulent model (k–ε). For this study, only the fluid movement between electrodes was taken into account. The analysis of current distribution showed the effects of cell geometry and electrode configuration on both the potential and current distributions on the anodes. Insulators placed at the edges of the electrodes produced border effects on the potential values that favored a secondary reaction and diminished the formation of aluminum clots. The CFD analysis indicated that the cell geometry arrangement generates low velocity profiles between the electrodes. From the experimental evaluation, it was observed that EC performance was improved when uniform potential and current densities were achieved with low flow velocity profiles. Analysis of the hydrodynamic behavior showed the impact of different hydrodynamic phenomena on both the formation of clots and the removal of the sludge formed. Likewise, it was confirmed that in optimizing energy consumption, an analysis of current distribution is a very useful tool for evaluating the arrangement of electrodes and the cell geometry.