Agglomerate

Definition - What does Agglomerate mean?

Agglomerates are particulate materials consisting of large particles formed by the joining or binding together of primary particles whose original identity can still be visible in the final agglomerate form.

The term can refer to:

  • Cluster of primary particles held together by weak physical interactions
  • Cluster of molecules or particles that results from agglomeration
  • Scrambled auto-assembly of otherwise isolated single molecules or particles
  • Cluster of primary particles interconnected by chemical bonds

Agglomeration of corrosion products in boilers increases scale buildup, which leads to corroded boiler walls and heat loss.

Agglomerate is also known as flocculate, aggregation, coagulation and coalescence.

Corrosionpedia explains Agglomerate

An agglomerate is a material formed by objects sticking together and forming clumps. A common example is when mixing powders into liquid, the powders often form clumps, requiring some mechanical effort to break apart.

In surface chemistry, agglomerate is the process by which fine particulates are caused to clump together into a floc. The floc may then float to the top of the liquid (creaming), settle to the bottom of the liquid (sedimentation), or be readily filtered from the liquid.

Agglomerates are affected by several parameters, including:

  • Mixing speeds
  • Mixing intensity
  • Mixing time

Agglomeration and sedimentation are widely employed in:

  • Purification of drinking water
  • Sewage treatment
  • Storm-water treatment
  • Treatment of other industrial wastewater streams

Agglomerates can cause corrosion. For example, in process water systems, corrosion products agglomerate significantly in certain locations. Significant agglomerations (or deposits) can occur in copper cooling passages and where heat is removed by water cooling. Such agglomerations also occur at restrictions found in non-copper system components like valve seats, fixed orifices, pump seal faces, etc. Agglomeration causes component clogging and malfunction, which leads to increased corrosion rate.

Agglomerates also cause sedimentation in water treatment plants and scale formation in boilers, which ultimately leads to process inefficiency, corrosion and boiler failure.

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