A consistent modelling methodology for secondary settling tanks: a reliable numerical method

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The consistent modelling methodology for secondary settling tanks (SSTs) leads to a partial differential equation (PDE) of nonlinear convection–diffusion type as a one-dimensional model for the solids concentration as a function of depth and time. This PDE includes a flux that depends discontinuously on spatial position modelling hindered settling and bulk flows, a singular source term describing the feed mechanism, a degenerating term accounting for sediment compressibility, and a dispersion term for turbulence. In addition, the solution itself is discontinuous. A consistent, reliable and robust numerical method that properly handles these difficulties is presented. Many constitutive relations for hindered settling, compression and dispersion can be used within the model, allowing the user to switch on and off effects of interest depending on the modelling goal as well as investigate the suitability of certain constitutive expressions. Simulations show the effect of the dispersion term on effluent suspended solids and total sludge mass in the SST. The focus is on correct implementation whereas calibration and validation are not pursued.

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