US 1783471 A
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Dec. 2, 1930. t A. M. HERBSMAN 1,783,
METHOD pr TREATING COLLOIDS Filed Ag nril 15. 1929 HT'T'OQNEIX Patented Dec. 2, 1930 ABRAHAM M, HEBBSMAN, OF HUNTINGTON PARK, CALIFORNIA METHOD OF TREATING GOLLOIDS Application filed April 15, 1929. Serial No. 355,863.
My invention relates to the coagulating or breaking up of suspensions and colloids by the use of rays of short wave-length.
It is frequently desirable to effect the sep- 6 aration of the phases of a chemical system by a coagulation thereof, whereby the coagulated phases may be subsequently separated by suitable treatment. Such coagulation is commonly carried out by the addition to 10 the chemical system of certain chemicals, or by the application of heat thereto. With certain types of chemical systems, such as colloids and suspensions, it is sometimes possible to separate at least certain of the constituents, hereinafter termed the phases, by the use of heat, the application of chemicals by filtering, or by the use of other media. Certainchemical systems respond to treatment with one or more of these media, and other systems are favorabl acted upon by the action of anelectric fiel or by electrolysis, or other electrical phenomena.
Myinvention relates, however, to the separation of the phases of a chemical system 5 by the use of rays of short wave-length which I have found to be very effective in coagulating or agglomerating the material forming one or more of these phases. My experience has shown that best results are obtained by the use of violet or ultra-violet rays, X-rays, cathode rays, or canal rays. In addition, it is possible to use the alpha, beta, or gamma rays given off by radioactive substances, eitherv in themselves or in conjunction with other rays of short wave-length.
It is an object of this invention to provide a novel method of and apparatus for coagulating or breaking up sus ensions or colloids by subjecting these co loids or suspensions to the action of rays of short wavelength.
A further object of this invention is to subject a stream of the substance forming a chemical system to, the action of rays of short Wave-length, and to subsequently remove this stream from the influence of the rays and separate the coagulated or coalesced phases from each other.
Further objects of this invention reside in 59 the novel processes whereby specific chemi;
cal systems are subjected to the action of to a method emulsion by the use of For instance, been obtained: emulsion, such .i'ays of short wave-length, and particularly of separatingthe phases of an such rays.
very effective results have by subjecting a petroleum as is commonly pumped from an oil-well, to the influence of rays of short wave-length, particles of water,
phase. This separate gravitationally by suitable settling chamber.
these rays agglomerating the the dispersed phases, usually 60 into globules of suflicient size to gravitate' from the oil forming the continuous treated emulsion is allowed to passing it into a An apparatus for carr ing out this process is disclosed in Fig. 1.
y invention is ap licable to various types of colloids, and by t is term I include dispersoids, and colloidal hereinafter explained. It is, of course, possible to cite all uses of my process,
solutions, as will be m.
typical uses will be illustrated without in any wa limiting olloids in general may types, the first being the chemical system in myself thereto.
be classed in five which a solid and a liquid form respectively the dispersed phase and the dium, or continuous phase. eludes, for instance, metals in state, and
one use of my process is for codispersion me- This type inthe colloidal agulating colloidal gold or other metal in such a colloidal state.
A second type of colloid may have dissimilar liquids comprisin the dispersed phase and the dispersion medium, such a type being 35 illustrated by emulsions. My process finds a particular utilit the treatment of emulsions, for by sub ecting these emulsions to the action of rays of short wave-length, the dispersed phase is coagulated or agglomerated, as reviously explained.
he third type of colloid may comprise a chemical system wherein a gas comprises the dispersed phase and a liquid the medium,
an example being that mation of foam. My now only for ispersion of the forprocess may be utilized breaking up' a foam such as is commonly formed in different chemical processes, but ma any of this also be utilized for preventing 0am from forming by utilizing 1 the rays of short wave-length in conjunction with the other chemical process which normally tends to form foam.
The fourth type of colloids may comprise a chemical system wherein a solid and a gas are intermixed, the solid being the dispersed dispersion medium. A common illustrationis the formation of clouds, either in the at mosphere or during the performance of certain chemical processes. In the latter instance my invention is particularly applicable, inasmuch as such clouds may be coagulated by subjection to the action of rays of short wave-length.
I have found that possibly the best method of treating all of these types of colloids is to move them in a continuous stream past the source of the rays so that the rays act upon the colloids for a length of time determined, of course, by the particular colloid being treated, after which the treated colloids may be passed to a suitable settling chamber wherein the coagulated or agglomerated phases may separate. Such a separation or- 'dinarily takes place by gravity, as illustrated, for instance, when petroleum emulsion is subjected to the action of the rays and subsequently passed into a settling chamber, the oil phase rising to the top and the water phase dropping to the bottom, due to a difference in density between the material constituting these phases.
I-am not limlted to any particular method of forming the rays of short wave-length, inasmuch as various means of generating these rays are known to the art. Ultra-violet rays may, for instance, be generated by certain illuminating means such as the carbon arc, X-rays may be derived from the wellknown X-ray tube, and the cathode rays may be developed from commercially available tubes. Most of these methods of artificially creating the rays utilize a container so that the source of these rays may properly be said to be inside this container. It thus becomes possible to place or move the material to be treated in contact with the source, or separated therefrom.
In utilizing-an ordinary X-ray bulb, the bulb may be placed in the path of travel of the material, thus insuring that the material will be subjected to the maximum intensity of rays. If contact between the source and the material is not desired, this is not necessary, but ordinarily correspondingly stronger rays must be utilized. Certain of theserays may be utilized in conjunction with reflectors for increasing the intensity of .the rays to which the material is subjected. Such reflectors may be polished metal, quartz m-irrors, ray-transmitting glass mirrors, or mirrors having a radioactive substance as a backing for quartz or other ray-transmitting glass. Similarly, therefiectors may be made entirely of a radioactive substance or may be coated on the front surface thereof, so that this radioactive substance-acts directly in conjunction with the X-rays, ultra-violet rays, cathode rays, or other rays in effectively treating the material.
In some instances it is desirable that only a thin film of the substance-to be treated beaffected by the rays atanyparticular instant.v All materials act to some extent to impede the passage of these rays, and by forming a thin film of the material, itbecomes possible to completely treat this film.
Still a further method of bringing a material to be treated under the influence of .the rays is to atomir'e or finely divide the material and lIltIOClln e this material in its subdivided state a. a mist or in the form of droplets into a chamber containing rays of short wave-length emitted from a suitable source. The particular method will, of course, depend upon circumstances and upon the material being treated and no general rule can be givenjfor all colloids.
It is also possible, and in somecases desirable, to apply heat during the time that the material to be treated is under the influence of the rays of short Wave-length, or to preheat this material before thus influenced. My invention should thus not be l1m1ted to coagulation without heat, but should be 1nterpreted to include the application of heat either before or during treatment of the material for the purpose of increasing the treating action taking place.
As a practical example of my process, I
, have illustrated in the drawing one form of apparatus, and will particularly describe this apparatus as used in the separation ofv the phases of a petroleum emulsion.
Referring to the drawing, 1 have shown a table 1 having an inclined surface 2 adapted to receivea relatively shallow stream of the emulsion to be treated. I charged from a pipe 3 and impinges against Y a barrier 4 or other spreading means which will uniformly distribute the emulsion over This emulsion is disthe inclined surface 2. This shallow stream of emulsion flows beneath a, source of ultraviolet rays 5 comprising a quartz tube 6 mounted in a hood 7. This hood is open at v the bottom and provides reflectors 8 for directing the ultra-violet rays downward against the stream of emulsion passing therebeneath. Y
-The treated emulsion is discharged into a r through a pipe 11 having a valve 12 therein. The pipe 3 communicates with the discharge of the pump and provides a valve 13 for controlling the flow therethrough. A batch of emulsion may thus be recirculated until com-.
pletely treated after which the treated emulsion may be pumped through a pipe 14 into a settling tank 15, the flow through this pipe being controlled by a valve 16. The water particles of the emulsion are sufficiently agglomerated under the influence of the ultraviolet rays so that the water readily separates from the oil in the settling tank, the former being withdrawn through a pipe 18 communicating with the settling tank and the latter being withdrawn through a pipe 19 colmkmunicating with the top of the settling ta A bame 20 prevents undue turbulence in.
the settling tank, due to the discharge of.
emulsion thereinto.- A new supply of emulsion to be treated may be pumped into the system through a ipe 21 communicating with a storage tan 22 when a valve 24 therein is opened.
Such a batch process is sometimes necessary with emulsions which are dificult of treatment. However, many emulsions may be completely broken by passing under the influence of the ultra-violet rays but once. In this event, a continuous process may be used by allowing the treated emulsion to pass directly from the trough 9 to the settling tank through a pipe 26, the flow being controlled by a valve 27.
The term chemical system, as used in this disclosure and in the appended claims is not meant to include a chemical combination in the strictest sense of this latter term, but rather a combination of chemical substances and should be so interpreted. These substances are usually present in the system as a mixture rather than forming a chemical combination.
By rays of short wave length, as the term is used in the appended claims, I mean rays of the order of wave length between the extremes comprised in the rays emitted by ordinary X-ray tubes, quartz mercury-vapor lamps, or known radioactive elements.
I claim as my invention:
1. A process of separatin a disperse chemical system into its constituent phases, which includes the ste of subjecting said system to the action 0 length.
2. A process of separating a disperse chemical system into. its constituent phases,
which includes the steps ofzsubjecting said system to the action of rays of short wavelength; and utilizing the difierence in density of said phases for separating said phases.
3. A process of separating a disperse chemical system into its constituent parts,
rays of short wavewhich includes the step of subjecting a stream of the substance forming said system to the action of rays of short wave-length.
4. A process of separating a disperse chemical system into its constituent parts, which includes the steps of: subjecting a stream of the substance forming said system to the action of rays of short wave-length; removing said stream of said substance from the influence of said rays; and gravitationally separating said phases.
5. A process of separating the phases of a petroleum emulsion, which includes the steps of subjecting said emulsion to the action of rays of short wave-length; and separatin said phases.
6. T e method of separating disperse systems into their component phases which comprises irradiating such systems for a substantial length of time under conditions favoring the passage of the rays through the system,- the irradiating rays being of wave lengths comprised between the extremes of wave lengths of the kinds emitted from ordinary X-r'a'y tubes, quartz mercury-vapor lamps and known radioactive elements, and
then allowing the phases to separate on standing.
7. .1 method according to claim 6 in which the disperse system is an emulsion.
8. A method according to claim 6 in which the disperse system is a naturally formed petroleum emulsion.
9. The method of separating the phases of a disperse system which comprises irradiating the mixed system by the li ht of a quartz mercury-vapor lamp for a su stantial period of time and then allowing the phases to separate by standing.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand at Los Angeles, California, this 8th day of April, 1929.
ABRAHAM M. HERBSMAN.