Small Angle Light Scattering used to Measure Floc Structure
In this paper, a new approach using small angle light scattering to study the structure of large micron sized flocs is described. The flocs were made up from uniformly sized, approximately spherical hematite particles, induced to aggregate using 250 mM KCl to ensure that growth was governed by diffusion limited aggregation alone. The fractal dimensions of the hematite aggregates changed from 1.73 to 2.23 ± 0.05 as the aggregation proceeded, indicating that restructuring occurred during aggregation. The fractal dimensions obtained from the small angle light scattering technique are compared with those obtained from the combination of volume fraction and floc size measurement. The steady state fractal dimensions (2.23 ± 0.05) obtained by small angle light scattering are comparable to the fractal dimensions obtained from determining the slope of the relationship between floc volume fraction and floc size (2.09 and 2.14 ± 0.05). The discrepancy between the fractal dimensions obtained by these techniques during the initial stages of aggregation is due to the fact that the latter method measures the average fractal dimensions, whilst the former method measures the fractal dimensions at any particular instant.