On the basis of full-scale data from 58 clean water tests performed in 26 activated sludge tanks equipped with fine bubble diffusers and of a theoretical approach, it can be stated that fine bubble aeration systems with total floor coverage arrangement provide higher kLa values and the lowest spiral liquid circulation.

An efficiency criterion for oxygen transfer ( NT) was defined on the basis of the dimensional analysis. The transfer number NT allows us to take account of the impact of vertical liquid circulation movements on oxygen transfer. The values of NT calculated from the results of full scale nonsteady-state clean water tests vary from 5.3×10-5 to 9.1×10-5 and are directly dependent upon the arrangement of air diffusers. It has been shown that the highest transfer numbers corresponded to the total floor coverage arrangement and the average calculated NT values is 7.7×10-5, independently of the diffuser density and of the gas velocity, over the ranges studied. The lowest transfer numbers are obtained when the diffusers are located in separate grids, and the transfer number is reduced with increasing air flow rate.

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