November 28, 2023

Flocculated and De-flocculated suspension

Flocculated and De-flocculated suspension

Flocculated suspension

A flocculated suspension refers to a heterogeneous mixture of solid particles dispersed in a liquid medium, where these particles are clumped together in aggregates called “flocs.” These flocs are larger and less densely packed than the individual particles, making the suspension appear to have larger and more easily settled particles. Flocculation is the process by which these aggregates are formed, leading to improved stability and separation characteristics in the suspension.

Types of Flocculation:

  1. Primary Flocculation: This is the initial stage where individual particles start to come together due to weak attractive forces.
  2. Secondary Flocculation: In this stage, primary flocs further aggregate to form larger and more stable flocs due to stronger attractive forces.

Advantages of Flocculated Suspension:

  1. Improved Settling: Flocculation enhances the settling rate of suspended particles, allowing for easier separation of solids from the liquid phase.
  2. Filtration Efficiency: Larger flocs can be more effectively filtered, improving the efficiency of separation processes.
  3. Reduced Viscosity: Floc formation can lead to decreased viscosity, making it easier to handle and process the suspension.
  4. Improved Clarity: Flocculation can lead to clearer liquid phases as larger flocs settle more effectively, reducing turbidity.

Disadvantages of Flocculated Suspension:

  1. Reversibility: Flocculated suspensions can sometimes be easily disrupted, causing flocs to break apart and re-disperse, which might not be desirable in certain applications.
  2. Shear Sensitivity: High shear forces can disrupt flocs, causing the suspension to revert to its original state, requiring additional flocculation steps.
  3. Aggregation Variability: Achieving consistent floc size and stability can be challenging, impacting the reproducibility of processes.

Mechanism of Flocculation:
Flocculation involves various physical and chemical mechanisms that lead to the formation of flocs. Some key factors include:

  1. Electrostatic Attraction: Particles with opposite charges attract each other, causing them to come together and form flocs.
  2. Van der Waals Forces: Weak attractive forces between particles become significant when they are in close proximity, leading to floc formation.
  3. Bridging: Polymers or other molecules adsorb onto particles, creating bridges between them and promoting aggregation.
  4. Hydrophobic Interactions: Hydrophobic regions on particle surfaces can interact and promote floc formation.
  5. pH and Ionic Strength: Adjusting pH and ionic strength can influence particle charge, affecting flocculation.
  6. Mixing and Agitation: Controlled mixing and agitation help bring particles into contact, allowing flocculation to occur.

A flocculated suspension is a suspension in which particles have undergone flocculation.

  1. Particles exist as loose aggregates.
  2. Rate of sedimentation is high.
  3. Sediment formed rapidly.
  4. Consist of loosely packed particles possessing a Scaffolding structure a hard dense cake does not form and the sedimentation can easily be redispersed.
  5. Elegant preparation is obtained due to the uniform distribution of loosely bonded flocs

De-flocculated suspension

Deflocculated Suspension:

A deflocculated suspension refers to a system in which solid particles are uniformly dispersed in a liquid medium, resulting in a stable, smooth mixture. In a deflocculated state, the particles repel each other due to the presence of additives or physical forces, preventing them from clumping together and settling at the bottom of the container.

There are two main types of deflocculated suspensions:

  1. Electrostatic Deflocculation: In this type, the particles acquire an electric charge that causes them to repel each other. Electrolytes or other charged substances are added to the suspension, creating a double layer of ions around the particles. This leads to electrostatic repulsion and enhances particle dispersion.
  2. Steric Deflocculation: Steric deflocculation involves the use of polymer molecules or surfactants that adsorb onto the particle surfaces. This creates a protective layer around the particles, preventing them from coming into close contact and thus avoiding aggregation.


  1. Improved Stability: Deflocculated suspensions remain stable over time, as the repulsive forces between particles prevent sedimentation and settling.
  2. Uniform Distribution: The particles are uniformly dispersed throughout the liquid, ensuring consistent properties and characteristics in the suspension.
  3. Enhanced Rheological Properties: Deflocculated suspensions often exhibit improved flow properties, making them easier to handle, transport, and process.
  4. Reduced Settling Time: The absence of particle aggregation means that these suspensions settle more slowly, which can be advantageous in various applications.
  5. Controlled Viscosity: Deflocculated suspensions can have controlled viscosity due to the uniform distribution of particles, allowing for more predictable behavior in various applications.


  1. Additive Dependency: Deflocculation usually requires the addition of stabilizing agents, such as electrolytes or polymers, which can lead to increased production costs.
  2. Potential Reactivity: The added stabilizing agents might interact with other components in the suspension, potentially leading to unexpected chemical or physical changes.
  3. Limited Application: Deflocculated suspensions might not be suitable for all applications, as certain processes or requirements might necessitate flocculated suspensions.

The mechanism of deflocculation involves creating repulsive forces between particles to prevent their aggregation. This can occur through two main mechanisms:

  1. Electrostatic Repulsion: By introducing charged ions into the suspension, an electric double layer forms around the particle surfaces. Like charges repel each other, causing particles to disperse and remain separate.
  2. Steric Repulsion: Polymers or surfactants adsorb onto the particle surfaces, creating a physical barrier that prevents particles from coming into close contact. This steric hindrance prevents aggregation.

In both cases, the goal is to counteract the attractive van der Waals forces between particles, thereby maintaining particle dispersion and suspension stability.

A deflocculated suspension is a suspension where no flocculation has taken place.

  1. Particles exist as separate entities.
  2. Rate of sedimentation is low.
  3. Sediment formed slowly.
  4. Sediment becomes very closely packed as the repulsive forces between the particles are overcome a hard cake is formed which is difficult to redisperse.
  5. Unsightly preparation results due to the formation of sedimentation

Biphasic Liquids: Suspension: Definition, advantages, and disadvantages, Classifications, Preparation of suspensions, Flocculated and Deflocculated suspension Emulsions: Definition, Advantages & Disadvantages, Classification, Emulsifying agent, Test for the identification of the type of Emulsion, Methods of preparation, Stability of emulsion

First Year B Pharm Notes, Syllabus, Books, PDF Subjectwise/Topicwise

F Y B Pharm Sem-IS Y B Pharm Sem-II
BP101T Human Anatomy and Physiology I TheoryBP201T Human Anatomy and Physiology II – Theory
BP102T Pharmaceutical Analysis I TheoryBP202T Pharmaceutical Organic Chemistry I Theory
BP103T Pharmaceutics I TheoryBP203T Biochemistry – Theory
BP104T Pharmaceutical Inorganic Chemistry TheoryBP204T Pathophysiology – Theory
BP105T Communication skills TheoryBP205T Computer Applications in Pharmacy Theory
BP106RBT Remedial BiologyBP206T Environmental sciences – Theory
BP106RMT Remedial Mathematics TheoryBP207P Human Anatomy and Physiology II Practical
BP107P Human Anatomy and Physiology PracticalBP208P Pharmaceutical Organic Chemistry I Practical
BP108P Pharmaceutical Analysis I PracticalBP209P Biochemistry Practical
BP109P Pharmaceutics I PracticalBP210P Computer Applications in Pharmacy Practical
BP110P Pharmaceutical Inorganic Chemistry Practical
BP111P Communication skills Practical
BP112RBP Remedial Biology Practical

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