Flocculants (otherwise called flocking agents), are chemicals that advance/ catalyze flocculation by forming colloids and other suspended particles in fluids to form a total, or aggregate, shaping a floc. Flocculants are utilized as a part of water treatment procedures to enhance the sedimentation or filterability of small particles/ suspended forms. For instance, a flocculant might be utilized as a part of swimming pool or drinking water filtration to help evacuation of microscopic particles which would some way or another cause the water to be turbid (shady) and which would be troublesome or difficult to uproot by filtration alone. Numerous flocculants are multivalent cations, such as aluminum, iron, calcium or magnesium. These positively charged atoms connect with negatively charged particles to diminish the hindrances/ barriers to aggregation/ collection.
Likewise, a large number of these chemicals, under appropriate pH and various other conditions such as temperature, salinity, react with water to form insoluble hydroxides which, after precipitating connect together to form long chains or networks, physically catching little particles into forming the bigger floc. Flocculants are also used in the mining industry to treat the water used in mineral extraction and flotation processes. They help aggregate fine suspended particles to form larger flocs so that the solids can more easily be separated from the water. Flocculants are used to clean flotation process water to reduce reagent consumption and improve recovery. They are also employed to treat discharge water so that stringent environmental standards can be met. Flocculation by definition implies a procedure in which singular particles of a suspension structure aggregate. In the water treatment industry, the terms coagulation and flocculation infer distinctive components. Flocculants comprise of different sub-atomic weight anionic, non-ionic and cationic polymers. They are used to build the proficiency of settling, filtration and centrifugation operations. It is used to describe the action of polymeric materials that form bridges between singular particles. Crossing over happens when portions of a polymeric chain adsorb on various particles and help other particles adhere. Flocculants carry active groups with a charge which will counter-balance the charge of the particles. Flocculants adsorb on particles and cause destabilization either by connecting or charge neutralization. An anionic flocculant will usually respond against a positively charged suspension (positive zeta potential) like the situation of salts and metallic hydroxides. A cationic flocculant will respond against a negatively charged suspension (negative zeta potential) like silica or natural substances.