The Science Behind Oil Water Separators – Blog Author

This document explains the way they work in a straightforward and straightforward manner. An oil water separator’s purpose is to dispose safely of waste. Like the name implies, it removes hydrocarbons from the water and makes water non-hazardous.

Separators for water and oil are made by coalescing plates. From the top, oily water is able to flow across the plates. While it’s doing so drops of tiny oil are lifted to the surface of the plates. Here they’re pushed to stick by Van Der Wall forces, that is a physical process that operates at the molecular level. These forces are weak which means that the droplets won’t stick well. Once droplets start to appear, they form a film on the underside of the plates. This film grows large enough to be able to resist Van der wall forces, and starts sliding upwards on the plates’ underside. As this occurs, drops of oil rise to the tops of the plates and are then released onto the top of the separator. This is the basis of oil separators.