What Are Oil Water Separators and How Do They Work?


What Are Oil Water Separators and How Do They Work?

The main purpose of an oil-water separator is to separate oil from water. They are designed to process high oil concentrations without losing a lot of pressure. Additionally, they are very compact, automated, and easy to use. Various types of oil water separators North Carolina are available. Each separates oil from water using the principle of extreme centrifugal force.

Multiple-Angle Plate Separators

The principle behind Multiple Angle Plate Separators for Oil Water Separation is based on the principle that solid particles that settle in a liquid are more buoyant than those in another liquid. This principle applies to both water and oil. Oil is less dense than water, which offers better conditions for the oil to rise to the surface. The density and viscosity of oil are both influenced by the temperature. The size of the oil particles also affects the separation process.

The efficiency of multiple-angle plate separators depends on the available surface area. Different types of these separators range from simple tanks to complex structures. However, simple systems are only suitable for some oil-water separation applications. These systems are either too expensive or require too much maintenance. Hence, multiple-angle plate separators are the best option.

The design of Multiple Angle Plate Separators should be based on several factors, including the rate of flow, particle characteristics, and fluid-specific gravities. The inlet and outlet piping should be located at the centerline of the separator, allowing the flow to run fully. In addition, the design calculations should reflect the effluent requirements of the oil/water separation system. The calculations should also show the rate of oil rise, overflow, and Reynolds Number of oil in the flow stream.

Pollution Control Systems OCS Series oil water separators work on the principle of coalescence. This principle essentially reduces the distance an oil droplet travels before it reaches the collection surface. The separators consist of coalescence plates made of hydrophobic or oleophilic materials. As the oil/water mixture comes into contact with these coalescence plates, it reaches a zero-velocity zone and sticks to the surface.

API Separators

API separators work by removing free oil and suspended solids from wastewater at refineries. They can be installed at the central wastewater treatment plant, upstream or downstream of a refinery. These systems are designed to remove large quantities of free oil and solids. They work by separating the oil and solids from the water in a laminar flow.

A typical API separator consists of corrugated plates that are placed in a tank. The water and oil flow through the plates. The oil in the water attracts the plates. Once a layer of suspended solids has been separated, further processing can be performed to remove other contaminants. These stages are called secondary treatment.

An API separator uses the principles of Stokes’ law to separate oil and wastewater. This law states that the rise velocity of oil droplets is related to their density and size. In addition, the separation efficiency of API separators depends on the temperature. The higher the temperature of the wastewater, the more oil is removed.

The oil globules rise to the surface of the water through buoyant forces. This layer is then removed by an API separator or an Equalization tank. Alternatively, gravity separation can be used to remove free oil. The removal efficiency depends on the temperature, flow conditions, and differences in specific gravity.


Hydrocyclones are oil-water separator devices that separate oil from water. Their performance depends on geometric and operational parameters such as the inlet pressure and solid concentration. These parameters affect hydrocyclone performance, and in some cases, these parameters can influence the efficiency of the separation process. For example, hydrocyclone efficiency is low for oil in water separation when the oil droplet size is small, and the oil concentration is low.

The performance of hydrocyclones varies from facility to facility, but the theoretical removal rate is usually around 90%. However, many hydrocyclones are capable of performing better than 90% removal. However, it is only possible to predict the exact removal rate with field testing, as its performance depends on actual shearing and merging in the field flow conditions and the number of impurities in the water.

Hydrocyclones are oil-water separator devices that use centrifugal force to separate oil from water. They have four sections. A tangential inlet feeds oily water into the first section. The oily water quickly builds a vortex inside the cyclone, generating a large centrifugal force. This force is thousands of times stronger than gravity and separates oil and water from the liquid.

Hydrocyclones are a great coalescing device, but they work best when the first stage of treatment is completed. Then, a downstream skim vessel separates droplets between 500 and thousand microns.


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