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As with other acoustic waves, ultrasound subjects substances (water, in this case), to alternating compression and expansion. At higher intensities, ultrasound breaks up the aqueous medium during the expansion phase. As a result, microscopically small cavities filled with water-vapour or gas are formed in the fluid.

During the subsequent compression phase, these bubbles implode as a result of the extreme conditions generated on the micro-level, a process known as cavitation. Pressures as extreme as 500 bar and temperatures up to 5,200 Kelvin are attained. The implosion of the gas-bubbles produces powerful shear forces which break up the surfaces of bacteria, fungi and other cellular matter. 

At lower frequencies, (20 kHz - 100 kHz) large cavitation bubbles are produced, the collapse of which cause these extreme hydraulic shear forces and effects. In the middle frequency range (100 kHz - 1 MHz) smaller, but nonetheless effective cavitation bubbles are produced, and radical sonochemical reactions occur in the water.



When sonicated at frequencies higher than 1 MHz, the liquid starts to stream on the molecular level.

At different acoustic frequencies the following remediation effects can be obtained:

  • Frequency range between 20 kHz - 100 kHz: disintegration of cells, disinfection, destruction of polymers, release of enzymes.

  • Frequency range between 100 kHz - 1 MHz: break up of the structure of (chloro-) organic compounds such as chlorophenol, TBT, MTBE, release of enzymes.

  • Frequency range between 1 MHz - 10 MHz: desorption of absorbed organic molecules from solid surfaces, biologically available organic matter, simultaneous biological degradation.


The Ultrawaves Reactor


The key aim in constructing the ultrasound apparatus is to produce a high degree of efficiency by rupturing the organic matter suspended in the fluid treated. That is why the reactor space in the Ultrawaves reactor has been optimised in order to obtain cavitation uniformly throughout the flow area.

The result is an exceptionally compact patented machine, with a volume of only 28 litres. In comparison to traditional tanks/ basins, this one is a "micro-reactor". The standard model is normally fitted with five oscillating units which can be supplied with up to 2 kW of power each. The transformation of electrical energy into mechanical-acoustic energy is performed by air-cooled piezo-ceramic transducers.

With the standard model it is possible to treat a sludge flow of up to thirty cubic metres per day. For wastewater containing a lower concentration of biosolids, the flow-rate can be set higher.

It is designed to treat only a partial flow for maximum success (typically 30%) with larger flows being catered for by adding more reactors in parallel.

The Ultrawaves ultrasonic reactor is distinguished by its:

  • Compact construction

  • Easy attachments (with standard pipe or tube fittings)

  • Traditional pump-system interface

  • Safety in use

  • Modular characteristics

  • Working capacity of 30m3 /day per unit

A further advantage of the Ultrawaves reactor is the considerable economy obtained by its:

  • Decreasing the digestion time (by up to 60%)

  • Reducing the digested sludge mass (by up to 30%)

  • Producing more biogas (up to 35% more)



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