Using coalescing for oil and water separation has proven to work, but is it the most effective? The majority of coalescing oil water separators are designed based on Stoke’s Law, which defines separation of fluids that are not in motion. Through this process, the oily water mixture enters the separator and the oil particles will coalesce or, gather, into larger spherical particles and then rise to the surface. The larger the particle, the less time it takes to rise. Any solids or “sludge” in the mix fall to the bottom of the tank. From there, the oil on the surface is recovered using a skimming device, successfully separating the liquids.

Many of our competitors use this technique in their oil water separators, but none compare with the HYDRASEP® Oil Water Separator.

Vertical Tube Coalescing Separators

Vertical tube coalescing (VTC) separators use a block of tubes that is packed into the tank and stand vertically. The basic principle is that the oily water mixture flows through the tubes, and the oil attaches to the tubes before coalescing and rising to the surface. Solids, then, simply fall to the bottom and out of the tubes. In theory, this oil water separation process should work, and it does- for a while.

The problem lies with the block of vertical tubes. They’re not quite wide enough to effectively allow solids and sludge to flow through and fall to the bottom. This causes the pack of tubes to become dirty and clogged very quickly, forcing users to replace them, or attempt to clean them. This takes away time and money from your company; time and money that you would be saving with a HYDRASEP® Oil Water Separator.

Above Grade, Flush with Grade, and Below Grade Coalescing Separators

With the same concept and method of separation as vertical coalescing separators, many above grade, flush with grade, and below grade coalescing separators use packs of pipes to attract oil.

Just like the blocks of tubes used by vertical coalescing separators, these packs of pipes can become clogged with solids and slush that cannot pass through to the bottom. To solve this problem, Hydrasep developed a way to separate water without having to use Stoke’s Law and coalescing. A HYDRASEP® Oil Water Separator can offer superior performance without the use of filters, meshes, incline plates, coalescing plates, media or corrugated plates, substantially reducing time and money spent on maintenance.

API and Parallel Plate Separators

There’s no doubting the power of gravity. It, after all, is what keeps our feet firmly planted on Earth. API (American Petroleum Institute) and parallel plate oil water separators utilize the power of gravity to separate oil and water.

Rather than using filtration devices that can get clogged and need routine maintenance, API water separators simply let gravity do the work. Oil particles coalesce and eventually rise to the top where they are skimmed and effectively separated. Similarly, parallel plate oil water separators allow gravity to work its magic, but they have inserted plates to encourage coalescing.

Unfortunately, letting gravity do the work takes time. Significant, valuable time that your company doesn’t have to waste. Not only do they take time, but often the results aren’t compliant, and constructing a machine with such a large footprint can become very costly. Unfortunately, that’s not the only high cost you may run in to.

Although these oil water separators don’t have filtration systems that get clogged and lead to high maintenance cost, they do from time to time need the sludge pumped, which can take a significant toll on your wallet.

Luckily, your oil water separator problems can be easily solved with the HYDRASEP®. We can save you money on maintenance and installation costs while getting the job done faster and better.