What is coagulation and flocculation ?
Coagulation is carried out using metallic mineral salts, called coagulating agents, containing iron or aluminium such as ferric chloride FeCl3. Naturally, some suspended solid particles are electrically charged (+ or -) and therefore repel each other, they cannot agglomerate. Coagulation agents balance these charges and therefore allow solid particles to come together.
Flocculation is a physical-chemical phenomenon during which solids suspended in a liquid agglomerate to form flakes (also called flocs). These flakes then settle quickly or rise to the surface of the liquid, allowing them to be easily separated from the rest of the liquid. Flocculation is a natural phenomenon that can be accelerated by using chemicals called flocculants or flocculation agents.
In the industrial field, the water treatment sector uses the most flocculants. They are used in the treatment of sludge but also in drinking water clarification. As the paper industry is a water-intensive activity that produces sludge, flocculants are also frequently used.
Among consumers, flocculants are used to give clarity to cloudy pool water. When a flocculant is added, the solid particles are consolidated and then filtered.
What are the disadvantages of using flocculants ?
Due to their role, flocculants should be added in small proportions to a large quantity of water (less than 0.1%). They are extremely effective even when highly diluted. Consequently, after cleaning, even the tiniest flocculant residue is enough to make the floor slippery again when water is added (e.g. when cleaning or if it rains).
→ For this reason, to avoid an accident it is very important to completely remove all flocculant residue.
How do I clean a floor soiled by a flocculant ?
POLYCAPTOR® absorbent is a synthetic powder specifically developed for its drying properties and its ability to clean up viscous liquid spills such as flocculants. This absorbent is composed of ultra-porous grains that absorb the liquid to the core through capillary action. The liquid can then be fully removed and leaves no residue. Even if water is added at a later date the risk of slipping is reduced, as the flocculant residue has been removed.
There are other alternatives to manage a flocculant spill, but they have some rather restrictive drawbacks so we do not advise them :
Mineral absorbents : Traditionally in industrial spills, mineral absorbents such as diatomaceous earth, sand or sepiolite are used to absorb the spilled liquid. They are powders consisting of crushed, slightly porous rock.
They have a reduced impact on flocculants :
- Even though they absorb most of the liquid quite easily, they can leave a layer of residue on the ground. In the case of flocculants, this residue can be extremely hazardous, because if water is added it can cause a high risk of falling.
- These compounds often contain a non-negligible proportion of carcinogenic crystalline silica that can be inhaled during use.
To manage flocculant spills, we recommend avoiding the use of water, mineral absorbents or bleach whenever possible and absorbing the liquid with the drying agent POLYCAPTOR®.