Water & Wastewater Asia • July / August 2019 38 | INSIGHT Using the Vortex Layer of Ferromagnetic Particles in Wastewater Treatment By Frank May, GlobeCore GmbH, Oldenburg, Germany When it comes to the treatment of wastewater, seemingly simple devices can have a major effect on the processes involved. One such example would be the electromagnetic vortex layer device, used for intensifying purposes in wastewater treatment. Part one of this two-part series explores how this device works, and how it’s useful in making the treatment process more efficient. 4 1 2 3 5 T he electromagnetic vortex layer device consists of an operating chamber inside an induction coil which generates a rotating electromagnetic field. The chamber contains cylindrical particles made of a ferromagnetic material, with a certain length-to-diameter ratio. The electromagnetic field causes these particles to move along complex trajectories, forming the so-called vortex layer. Figure 1 shows a typical design of such a system. FIGURE 1: Ferromagnetic particle vortex layer device: 1 – protective collar; 2 – rotating EM field induction coil; 3 – induction coil housing; 4 – non-magnetic operating chamber; 5 – ferromagnetic particles Inside the operating chamber of this seemingly simple device, processes occur which have a strong effect on wastewater processing: • a rotating (external) magnetic field; • multiple interactions of the ferromagnetic particles with each other, the walls of the chamber and the processed media; • acoustic shockwaves; • cavitation; • electrolysis. Fast motion of the particles and cavitation accelerate physical processes and chemical reactions. Formation of free hydrogen due to electrolysis of water significantly increases the rate of reduction reactions. At the same time, dissociation of water into Н+ and (ОН)- makes it possible to suggest that the latter plays a significant role in formation of metal hydroxides which then precipitate. The combination of all the above factors in the same space simultaneously increases the rate of practically all physical and chemical process by two to three orders of magnitude, increasing the efficiency of the process line accordingly. REMOVAL OF HEXAVALENT CHROME AND OTHER HEAVY METALS FROM WASTEWATER Wastewater from electroplating, chemical, petrochemical and other industries may contain chrome, nickel, zinc, lead, iron, copper, manganese and other heavy metals. There are several processes available for purification of such wastewater with the use of electromagnetic vortex layer devices, which can significantly reduce chemical consumption and make the process continuous.