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Publication numberUS3314872 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 18, 1967
Filing dateNov 5, 1963
Priority dateNov 5, 1963
Publication numberUS 3314872 A, US 3314872A, US-A-3314872, US3314872 A, US3314872A
InventorsHickman Howard J, Waterman Logan C
Original AssigneePetrolite Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electric treating process and apparatus
US 3314872 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

A ril 18, 1967 1.. c. WATERMAN ETAL ,3

ELECTRIC TREATING PROCESS AND APPARATUS iii:

ollrlllilwlll l IN VENTORS 1 144 TERA/IA LOGAN C. H0

WARD J. H/chw/A/v BY TH/"? AWa/eA/Eys 56H, P053544, & AEQA/ HA lee/5 United States Patent ()fiiice 34,872 Patented Apr. 18, 1967 3,314,872 ELECTRHC TREATING PRQCESS AND APPARATUS Logan C. Waterman, Houston, Tex., and Howard J. Hickman, Madras, India, assignors to Petrolite Corporation, Wilmington, Del, a corporation of Delaware Filed Nov. 5, 1963, Ser. No. 321,589 17 Claims. (til. 2ll418) Typically the particles may be water, brine, modified water, acid sludge, products resulting from the reaction of a chemical agent with some dissolved or dis persed component of the oil, solid or gel particles, salt crystals, dirt, oxide, etc.

Such dispersions are referred to herein as hydrocarbon-continuous dispersions comprising a hydrocarbon phase with dispersed particles therein. During the electric treatment the dispersed particles are In some instances a portion or all of the dispersed parelectrophoresed by the field to deposit on In the conventional electric treater, the electrostatic field between the electrodes is established by connecting an external electric power source to the electrodes, with the associated problems of electric power supply control and regulation, wiring, feed-through insulation, and shock hazard. It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved electric treater and method of treat ment which eliminate the requirement for external ower supply connections to the electrodes.

It is a particular object of the invention to provide a method of electrically treating a dispersion including the steps of producing an electrically charged fluid stream, flowing the charged stream into contact with an electrode to induce a charge thereon and establish an electrostatic field in the space between two electrodes, and delivering a stream of the dispersion to the space between the elec trodes for electric treatment therein. The treated dispersion can be partially separated in such treating space or it can be withdrawn therefrom and supplied to a settling space or to additional equipment that will further treat the effluent dispersion and separate it. The further treatment may be by electrical, chemical or centrifugal action or by a combination thereof and will result in further separation of the phase materials. A further object is to provide such a method in which the stream of dispersion to be treated is utilized as the electrically charged stream for inducing the charge on the one electrode. Another object is to provide a method in which a separate fluid stream is used for the electrically charging operation with the dispersion stream being introduced directly into the space between the electrodes.

It is an object of the invention to provide a new and novel apparatus for electrically treating a dispersion including means for generating an electrical charge in a stream of fluid to produce a charged stream, first and second spaced electrodes defining a treating space theredelivering a stream of the dispersion to the treating space for electrical treatment therein. The eflluent may be settled or treated as mentioned above. A further object of the invent1on 15 to provide such an apparatus including a charge generating element mounted within the treater for generating an electrical charge in a fluid stream directed therethrough.

It is a particular object of the invention to provide an the space between this and another electrode for treatment. Another object is to provide an alternative form of the treater including means for circulating a charging stream between the charge sistivity of the latter. It is an object to control or correlate the rate of flow of the charging liquid and the resistivity of the dispersion to maintain the electrode at a potential sufiicient to treat the dispersion, as by joining or bringing together some or all of its dispersed particles through coalescence or agglomeration in situ in the continuous phase material and/or by electrophoresing such the treating space where they may oin with other particles that have earlier reached such boundary by electrophoretic or other action.

Another object of the invention is to discharge a charged stream into a space within an electrically insulated electrode free of connection to any external source of potential and free of any grounded or other electrode to which the charge of the stream might largely leak, all to the end that the charge imparted to the electrode will be maximized. The insulated electrode may be of various shapes with its internal space substantially cylindrical, frusto-conical, spherical or of other geometrical configuration. The voltage gradients between this electrode and potential to establish therebetween an electric field of substantially uniform voltage gradient throughout.

The invention also comprises novel combinations and arrangements of parts and steps which will more fully appear in the course of the following description. The

In the drawing:

FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional view of one form of the electric treater of the invention shown in enlarged scale relative to its connected elements; and

'FIGS. 2, 3, 4, and 5 are similar vertical sectional views of alternative forms of the electric treater.

The treater 9 of FIG. 1 includes an outer shell 10 and an inner shell 11 which function as electrodes defining a treating space 12 therebetween. In the embodiment illustrated, the shells 1G, 11 are hollow and substantially spherical with the outer shell 10 grounded and with the inner shell 11 carried on an insulator 13 and a bracket 14 positioned in a collecting pocket 15 of the outer shell 10.

An inlet pipe 16 is attached to a flange of the outer shell It and may include an inner section 17 made of metal or insulating material and discharging into the interior of the inner shell If. A pump 1? in a line 24] moves the fluid to be treated through the inlet pipe into the interior of the shell 11, then into the treating space 12 between the shells, into the well 15 and out through a line 2 1 as indicated by the arrows shown. Dispersedphase material separating in the treater will collect in the bottom thereof and can be withdrawn intermittently or continuously through a pipe 22 having a valve 23. If desired any conventional level-responsive means 24 can be operatively connected to the valve 23 to maintain constant the level of the interfacial zone between the oil and the separated material within the treater.

Means are provided in the inlet line for generating a charge in the incoming fluid. Typically the charge generating means may comprise a charge generating element 25 mounted in the inlet pipe 16 adjacent the outlet end thereof. The charge generating element may be composed of a single tube, a bundle of capillary tubes, a pack or mass of material with many flow channels of small cross-sectional area such as glass wool or sintered bronze, or the like. The charge generated in a fluid flowing through such an element is approximately proportional to nL/ d where n is the number of flow channels, L the length of a flow channel, and d the diameter of a flow channel.

In the operation of the treater, the electric charge generated in the fluid passing through the charge generating element is transferred to the inner shell i l by contact of the charged fluid with the shell or some element electrically connected thereto. A potential difference is thus developed between the charged shell l1 and the grounded shell 10 producing an electrostatic field in the treating space 12. If desired a charge transfer means electrically connected to the inner shell can be employed to assist the charge transfer from the fluid to the inner insulated electrode. One or more wires across the interior of the shell 11 with their ends connected thereto will serve this function or a conducting open-pore maze 26 of conducting filaments, e.-g. a very loose steel-woollike mass, can be employed. Its open pores permit the charged fluid to flow therethrough in a path determined by the internal space geometry of the inner shell 11.

Flow of the fluid to be treated, here the efiluent from the interior of the shell 11, through the treating space 12 between the shells results in electric treatment of the fluid in the same manner as occurs in conventional electric treaters. The particles in the dispersion are coalesced or agglomerated into larger particles which are more easily separated within the treater or which are in a better condition for later separation. Alternatively or in addi tion, some of the dispersed particles may electrophorese toward one or both of the electrodes to deposit thereon, joining with other particles during the electrophoretic movement thereof or at the time of deposit.

It is desirable that at least some separation of the coalesced agglomerated or electrophoresed material should take place in the treater thus far described. Such materials settling or dropping to the bottom of the shell 10 can be removed therefrom through the valved pipe 22. In some instances separation can be completed outside the treater, as by connecting the pipe 21 to a separator 28 for separation of the residual modified particles in the treated stream. The separator may be a settling chamber, a centrifuge, another electric treater, a chemical treater, or a combination thereof. For example, electrodes 2% and 30 of any known configuration may be insulated from each other in the separator 28, as indicated by dotted lines, and may be energized from any external source of potential 31 to establish a high voltage field therebetween, as in conventional electric treaters. A suitable chemical aiding such electric treatment or separation of the phases may be proportioned into a side pipe 32 and mixed with the stream entering the separator 28. The purified fluid or lighter phase material may be withdrawn from the top of the separator through a line 34 and the separated particles or heavier phase material may be withdrawn from the bottom of the separator through another line 36. If separation beyond the treater 9 is not needed or desired opening of a valve 36 in a bypass line 37 will permit the effluent from the treater to by-pass the separator 28.

In some instances it is desirable to use the treater 9 to supplement earlier treatment of the dispersion or to preliminarily treat the dispersion in other equipment to condition it for the above-described treatment. Thus the incoming dispersion may be diverted to a container 40 by closing a valve 41 in the line 20 and opening a valve 42 in an inlet line 43 of the container. The dispersion can be preliminarily settled in the container 40 with some of the dispersed phase material being withdrawn through a valved pipe 44 and with the remaining dispersion conducted by a pipe 45 from the top of the container to the pipe 20 for later treatment in the equipment previously described. Spaced electrodes 47 and 48 energized from a high-voltage source of potential 49 may be employed in the container 40 to aid separation therein and condition the dispersion for its later treatment. For example if the dispersion entering the pump 19 is of a conductivity too high for best treatment in the treater 9 this conductivity can be reduced in the container 40. The treater 9 functions best with entering dispersions of a conductivity of about 5 X 10- 4 l0" mho/cm.

An alternative form of the treater 9' is shown in FIG. 2, wherein elements corresponding to those of FIG. 1 are identified by corresponding primed reference numerals. In the structure of FIG. 2, the charging liquid is separate from the fluid being treated with the latter being introduced directly into the treating space 12 via the line 20' and a perforated ring pipe 50. The charging liquid is circulated by a pump 52 via a line 53 into the inlet pipe 16'. The liquid then flows through the charging element 25 and into the inner shell 11' where its charge is transferred to the inner shell. The liquid is then withdrawn through another line 54 for recirculation. A supplementary insulator ring 55 may be employed to join the inner shell 11' to a skirt 56 separating the two materials and guiding the recirculated chargng liquid to the line 54.

The treater of FIG. 2 permits operation with the dispersion to be treated being pumped at an optimum velocity for treating and with the charging liquid being pumped at an optimum velocity for charge generation transfer, which maybe substantially different from the best velocity forthe dispersion. Also, this arrangement permits use of a llquid having optimum charge generation and transfer characteristics as well as a clean liquid which reduces the tendency to clog the charge generating element. The charge carrying liquid can be a homogeneous or relatively pure liquid of relatively high electrical resistivity or it may carry particles as a dispersed phase such as water to increase the charging current. It should be substantially free of solids of large particle size. It should preferably have a resistivity within the range of about 5x10 1 l0 ohm cm. Various hydrocarbons can be used as potential on the as high as 15 kv. or more.

is assured that the electrode. diameter of 20 rates in the treating space 12 desirable and thus will insure that most or all of the charge grounded shell 11 dispersion in the condition in which it exists in the treating space 12 or 12. With inner and outer spherical electrodes respectively of 20 on. and 24 cm. diameter and with a dispersion of a conductivity of about 10* mho/cm. (a resistivity of 10 ohm cm.) the resistance of the d' produce a leakage current through the dispersion of about .4 lamps. A current of this magnitude is easily generated with a glass Wool charging element.

In practice the voltage gradient across the treating space 12 or 12' Will desirably be in the range of 1-25 l v./in. for best electric treatment.

However treatment of dispersions of resistivities of 5x10 ohm cm. and greater are within the scope of the invention.

Flow through the substantially spherical However the use of electrostatic fields of uniform voltage gradient throughout is not essential to the invention.

6 In some instances some non-uniformity of the field is desirable. portions of nonuniform gradient can be obtained by use of the embodiments and 5.

Referring to FIG. 3, the outer shell is a generally cylindrical container while the inner shell 111 is a smaller cylinder closed at its top and open at its bottom. An annular treating space 1112 is formed therebetween. The inner shell 111 is hung from an insulator 113 disposed in pipe 116 with an inner section 117 is fed by a pump 119 through a line 124). The dispersion the inner shell 111, downward in lavmg contact with the inner surface thereof, outward open end of the latter, an arrangement which can also be employed in the embodiments of FIGS. 1 and 2 if desired.

The space within the inner shell 111 may be open or may contain the open-pore charge-transfer means previously described. The charge induced on the dispersion when passing through the charge generating element 125 is transferred to the inner shell M1 acting as a collector and as an inner electrode establishing the high-voltage electric field in the annular treating space 112 in which the dispersion is treated. There is little or no settling of the dispersed material except when the dispersion passes beneath the lower edge of the inner shell 111 and rises in the annular treating space 112. Settled dispersed material is withdrawn through a valved pipe 122. The field pattern is distinctly non-uniform in zones adjacent the dispersedand increasing the generally similar to FIG. 3 and has corresponding parts designated by corresponding primed numerals. The inner shell 111 is here frustoconical in shape but has its lower edge turned inwardly at 125 to provide a throat 126 through which the charge dispersion moves downward before rising around the inner shell. The treating space 112' is here of increasing width toward the top, providing a tapered field effect. The zones of nonuniform gradient, indicated by the radial lines 123' and 124' produce dielectrophoretic forces aiding the coalescence. The zones in which such fields are established are generally circles of revolution about the vertical axis of the treater. The field intensities therein are somewhat higher than in the main portions of the annular treating space 112 either because of closer electrode spac- 7 These igh enough to redisperse the dispersed-phase masses produced in other regions of the annular treating space 112 nor sufiicient to cause excessive current drain which would tend to dissipate the transferred charge on the inner shell 111' too rapidly.

The embodiment of FIG. 5 employs an outer shell 210 shaped as a horizontally disposed respectively in pockets 215. An inlet pipe 216 has an inner section 217 discharging into the interior of the inner shell 211. A pump 21) can supply the dispersion to flow along the annular treating space 212. Separation of dispersed-phase material takes place during this flow, the efiiuent oil discharging through a line 221 while the separated dispersed-phase material is withdrawn from a collected body thereof through a valved pipe 222. Dielectrophoretie zones are indicated by the radial lines 22 and 227, the treater thus operating in a manner similar to the treaters of FIGS. 3 and 4 except that the coalesced masses of the dispersed-phase material move circumterentially downward rather than axially downward in the treating space.

In the embodiment of PEG. 5, as in the other embodiments, it is sometimes possible to divide the incoming stream of dispersion, using a portion thereof for the electrode-charging function and discharging another portion thereof directly into the treating space between the inner and outer shells. Thus by opening a valve 230 a portion of the pumped dispersion can enter a distributor 231 extending along the bottom of the treating space 212 above the body of separated material. This distributor 'may be any multi-orifice pipe or pipe network discharging smaller streams of the dispersion at different horizontally-spaced positions below the level of the inner shell 211. The material of the streams can thus rise circumferentially through the treating space 212 while being displaced axially due to the flow of the charging portion of the stream. The treated oil is withdrawn through the pipe 221 as before. An effective electric treatment of the composite stream results.

In FIG. 5, as in the other embodiments, it is also possible to increase the volume and thus the velocity of the dispersion flowing through the charge generating element 225 by returning to the infiuent stream a portion of the eflluent stream from the pipe 221. The by-passed portion of the eflluent stream can flow through a pipe 240 by opening a valve 241 and can enter the pipe 220 ahead of the pump 219. This dilutes and augments the volume of the incoming dispersion and can be made to increase the charge transferred to the inner shell 211. In FIGS. 4 and 5 charge transfer from the stream to the inner shell can be facilitated by use of the open-pore charge-transfer maze described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2.

The treaters as embodied in FIGS. 3, 4 or 5 can be connected with the pre-treating or post-treating arrangements of FIGS. 1 and 2. In this way the influent streams to such treaters can be conditioned for better treatment or the effluent streams from such treaters may be subjected to further treatment.

As an example of the invention, a jet fuel after being washed with an aqueous solution and while containing a few tenths of a percent of dispersed phase material can be flowed through a glass wool charging element in an inlet pipe of about 5-1.0 cm. internal diameter into a thin walled inner shell 11 of cm. internal diameter and thence through the treating space provided within an outer shell 10 of 24 cm. internal diameter, FIG. 1 embodiment, at a rate of about 0.5-1.0 gal/min. Depending on the flow rate and the insulator leakage the inner shell 11 will be maintained at a potential of about 2-20 kv. above ground potential which at an electrode spacing of slightly less than 2 cm. will subject the dispersion to a field of a gradient of about 1-10 kv./cm. or about 25-25 kv./ in. inducing coalescence of the dispersed particles and some electrophoretic deposition thereof on the shells. The treated effluent will be found to contain somewhat less dispersed phase material, typically a few hundredths of a percent, the reduction from the entering stream representing the portion of the dispersed material separated within the treater. The fuel elfiuent upon gravitational settling in the separator 28 will produce an upper eifiuent containing less than 01% residual dispersed aqueous material.

It should be recognized however that the invention can also be used as an aid to other electric or chemical treating-separating processes and need not be used to produce the ultimate product desired. Thus high-voltage energization of one or both of the electrodes 29, 3a in the separator 28 and subjecting the entering alreadytreated stream to the action of the one or more resulting electric fields can be used to reduce the content of dispersed aqueous material in the upper effluent through line 34 to negligible values, usually below 001%. If the separator 28 and its electrodes are of the type suggested in the patent to Stenzel, No. 2,855,356, or in the application of Stenzel and Turner, Ser. No. 230,978, now Patent No. 3,205,160, entitled Electric Treater for Dispersions, the upper effluent will contain even less residual dispersed material, often less than .0O05%. In all instances where the treater or 9 is used ahead of another electric treater it acts to condition the dispersion for the ultimate electric treatment and make same easier or more effective. There are also many advantages in passing the inffluent stream through a preliminary electric treater such as provided at 40, 47, 48 and 49 before entering the self-energizing treater 9 or 9.

Although exemplary embodiments of the invention have been disclosed and discussed, it will be understood that other applications of the invention are possible and that the embodiments disclosed may be subjected to various changes, modifications and substitutions without necessarily departing from the spirit of the invention.

We claim as our invention:

1. In an apparatus for electrically treating a hydrocarbon-continuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase with dispersed particles therein, the combination of:

means for generating an electrical charge in a stream of fluid to produce a charged stream;

a first electrode;

a second electrode spaced from said first electrode defining a treating space therebetween; means for mounting said first electrode electrically isolated and insulated from said second electrode;

means for flowing said charged stream of fluid into electrical contact with said first electrode to transfer thereto the charge of said stream and establish an electrostatic field in said treating space;

means for delivering a stream of said dispersion to one portion of said treating space; and

means for withdrawing treated dipersion constituents from said treating space.

2. in an apparatus for electrically treating a hydrocarbon-continuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase with dispersed particles therein, the combination of:

an apertured charge generating element for generating an electrical charge of high voltage in a fluid passing therethrough;

a first electrode;

a second electrode spaced from said first electrode defining a treating space therebetwcen;

means for mounting said first electrode electrically isolated and insulated from said charge generating element and said second electrode;

means for flowing a stream of fluid through said charge generating element to impart a charge thereto and thence promptly into electrical contact with said first electrode to induce a charge thereon and establish a hi gh-voltage electrostatic field in said treating space; and

means for delivering a stream of said dispersion to one portion of said treating space for electric treatment therein.

3. In an apparatus for electrically treating a hydrocarbon-continuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase with dispersed praticles therein, the combination of:

means for generating a high-voltage electrical charge in a fluid passing therethrough;

a first hollow electrode;

a second hollow electrode spaced from said first electrode defining a treating space therebetween;

means for mounting said first electrode electrically isolated and insulated from said second electrode;

said treating space for treatment therein. 4. An apparatus as defined in claim first hollow electrode 18 within and concentric with said said charge-generating means including a conduit of smaller size than said opening discharging said charged stream into the interior of said first electrode through said opening, there being an annular exit space Within said opening around said conduit conducting said fluid from the interior of said first electrode.

5. Apparatus as defined in the electrical charge of such stream.

6. In an apparatus for electrically treating a hydrocarbon-continuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase with dispersed particles therein, the combination of:

a charge generating element for generating an electrical charge in a fluid passing therethrough;

a first hollow electrode;

a second hollow electrode spaced from said first electrode defining a treating space therebetween;

means for mounting said first electrode electrically isolated and insulated from said second electrode;

space; and means for flowing a stream of said dispersion through said treating space in spaced relation with said circulating fluid.

In an apparatus a second hollow from said first therebetween;

means for electrically isolating and insulating said first electrode from said charge generating element and said second electrode;

means for flowing a stream of said dispersion through electrode concentric with and spaced electrode defining a treating space trical charge in a first hollow electrode;

a second hollow electrode concentric with and spaced from said first electrode defining a treating space therebetween;

means for electrically isolating and insulating said first it) electrode from said charge generating element and said second electrode;

means for dividing a stream of said dispersion into two stream portions;

means for flowing one stream portion through said charge generating element, into said first electrode and from an exit portion thereof to impart a charge on said first electrode and establish an electrostatic field in said treating space;

means for delivering the dispersion from said exit portion to said treating space;

means for delivering the other stream portion to said treating space, the electrostatic field in said treating space treating both stream portions; and

means for Withdrawing treated dispersion constituents from said treating space.

9. In an apparatus for electrically treating a hydrocarbon-continuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase and a dispersed phase comprising particles dispersed in the hydrocarbon phase, the combination of:

a charge generating element for generating an electrical charge in a fluid passing therethrough;

a first hollow electrode;

a second hollow electrode concentric with and spaced from said first electrode defining a treating space therebetween;

means for electrically isolating and insulating said first electrode from said charge generating element and said second electrode;

means for flowing a stream of said dispersion through said charge generating element and into said first electrode to impart a charge thereon and establish an electrostatic field in said treating space;

means for delivering the dispersion from the interior of said first electrode to said treating space, the electrostatic field in said treating space treating the dispersion to bring together at least some of the dispersed particles and produce a treated hydrocarbon;

means for removing a stream of said treated hydrocarbon from said treating space; and

volume thereof.

10. Apparatus for electrically treating a hydrocarboncontinuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase a dispersed phase of particles therein, said apparatus including:

'an outer hollow electrode having a substantially spherical inner surface;

an inner isolated electrode having a substantially spherical outer surface;

electrical insulation means for mounting said inner therebetween, said treating space having entrance and exit portions spaced diametrically from each other;

means for developing a potential difference between said electrodes establishing an electrostatic field in said treating space;

means for delivering a stream of said dispersion to said entrance portion for treatment in said treating space during flow therealong; and

means for conducting a from said exit portion of sand treating space,

continuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase with dispersed particles therein, in a space defined by first and second electrodes and in the absence of potential applied between said electrodes by any external source of potential connected thereto, to join the dispersed particles together, including the steps of:

producing an electrically charged fluid stream;

11 flowing the charged stream into electrical contact with the first electrode to impart a charge thereon and establish an electrostatic field in the space between the electrodes;

delivering a stream of the dispersion to said space;

and

withdrawing treated dispersion constituents from said space.

12.. A method of electrically treating a hydrocarboncontinuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase with dispersed particles therein, in a space defined by first and second electrodes and in the absence of potential applied between said electrodes by any external source of potential connected thereto, to bring together the dispersed particles, including the steps of:

producing an electrical charge of high voltage in a stream of the dispersion;

flowing the charged dispersion stream into electrical contact with the first electrode to impart a highvoltage charge thereon and establish a high-voltage electrostatic field in the space between the electrodes; then flowing the dispersion stream into said space; and withdrawing treated dispersion constituents from said space.

13. A method of electrically treating a hydrocarboncontinuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase with dispersed particles therein, in a space defined by first and second electrodes, to bring together the dispersed particles into larger particles, including the steps of:

producing an electrically charged fluid stream in a charging zone;

moving the charged fluid stream into electrical contact with the first electrode to transfer thereto the charge of such stream and establish an electrostatic field in the space between the electrodes;

returning the discharged stream to said charging zone for recharging and for production of said charged fluid stream;

delivering a stream of the dispersion to be treated to the space between the electrodes; and

withdrawing treated dispersion constituents from said space. 14. A method of electrically treating a hydrocarboncontinuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase with dispersed particles therein, in a space bounded by a first insulated electrode and a second grounded electrode and in the absence of potential applied between said elec trodes by any external source of potential connected thereto, said method including the steps of inducing electrostatic charges in a fluid stream by flowing same through a porous mass to produce a charged fluid stream;

flowing the charged stream into electrical contact with said first electrode and maintaining this contact for a period of time sufficient to transfer a substantial part of the charges to said first electrode to charge same to a dispersion-treating potential above ground potential, thereby establishing an electrostatic field in the space between said electrodes;

flowing a stream of the dispersion to be treated into said space in bridging relationship with the electrodes for treatment of the dispersion during advancement along said space, some of the charge of said first electrode leaking through the dispersion in said space to the second electrode as a function of the resistivity of the dispersion bridging said electrode; and

controlling the charge and rate of flow of said fluid stream with relation to the resistivity of the dispersion 12 bridging said electrodes to maintain said first electrode at a dispersion-treating potential above ground potential.

15. A method of electrically treating a hydrocarboncontinuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase with dispersed particles therein by use of an electrode insulated from ground but free of connection to any external source of potential, said method including the steps of:

flowing in charge-transfer relation with one portion of said electrode an electrically charged stream in a manner to transfer a substantial portion of the charge of such stream to said electrode and develop an electrode potential above ground potential;

flowing in contact with another portion of said electrode a stream of said hydrocarbon-continuous dispersion; and controlling the charge of said charged stream and its time of contact with said electrode relative to the resistivity of said dispersion to maintain said electrode at a potential to establish an electrostatic field in the stream of hydrocarbon-continuous dispersion sufficient in intensity to separate at least some of the dispersed particles of such dispersion. 16. A method as defined in claim 15 including the steps of separating some of the treated dispersed particles of the dispersion in said electrostatic field to produce a treated dispersion containing residual dispered particles, and subjecting said residual dispersion to additional treatment to separate additional dispersed particles therefrom. 17. A method of electrically treating a hydrocarboncontinuous dispersion comprising a hydrocarbon phase with a dispersed phase therein comprising dispersed particles, which method involves the use of an electrode insulated from ground but free of connection to any external source of potential, said method including the steps of:

removing siori;

flowing the resulting dispersion through a large number of passages at sufficient velocity to induce a charge on the dispersion;

flowing the charged dispersion in charge-transfer relation with said electrode to transfer a substantial portion of the charge of such stream to said electrode and develop an electrode potential above ground potential;

employing said electrode potential to establish a highvoltage electrostatic field;

flowing the stream of dispersion after such charge transfer into said electrostatic field for treatment therein; and

controlling the charge on the charge dispersion stream and the time of charge transfer to said electrode relative to the resistivity of said dispersion in said electrostatic field to maintain said electrode at a potential sufficient to bring together at least some of the dispersed particles of such dispersion in such field.

larger dispersed particles from said disper- References Eited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS JOHN H. MACK, Primary Examiner.

70 T, TUFARIELLO, Assistant Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4017390 *May 28, 1975Apr 12, 1977Societe LabMethod for separating solid pollutants from fluids
US5423962 *Apr 18, 1994Jun 13, 1995Herbst; RobertElectrolytic treatment apparatus
US5611907 *Jun 7, 1995Mar 18, 1997Global Water Industries, Inc.Electrolytic treatment device and method for using same
US5928493 *Nov 24, 1997Jul 27, 1999Kaspar Electroplating CorporationProcess and apparatus for electrocoagulative treatment of industrial waste water
US6689271Sep 24, 2001Feb 10, 2004Kaspar Wire Works, Inc.Process and apparatus for electrocoagulative treatment of industrial waste water
US8430996May 26, 2010Apr 30, 2013Kaspar Electroplating CorporationElectrocoagulation reactor having segmented intermediate uncharged plates
US8431009Oct 16, 2006Apr 30, 2013Kaspar Electroplating CorporationElectrocoagulation reactor
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Classifications
U.S. Classification204/563, 204/674, 204/670
International ClassificationC10G33/00, C10G33/02
Cooperative ClassificationC10G33/02
European ClassificationC10G33/02