The feasibility of the dissolved air flotation (DAF) process in treating chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) wastewater was evaluated in this study. Wastewater from a local semiconductor manufacturer was sampled and characterised. Nano-sized silica (77.6 nm) with turbidity of 130±3 NTU was found in the slightly alkaline wastewater with traces of other pollutants. Experimental results indicated removal efficiency of particles, measured as suspended particle or turbidity, increased with increasing concentration of cationic collector cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB). When CTAB concentration was 30 mg/L, pH of 6.5±0.1 and recycle ratio of 30%, very effective removal of particles (> 98%) was observed in saturation pressure range of 4 to 6 kg/cm2, and the reaction proceeded faster under higher pressure. Similarly, the reaction was faster under the higher recycle ratio, while final removal efficiency improved slightly as the recycle ratio increased from 20 to 40%. An insignificant effect of pH on treatment efficiency was found as pH varied from 4.5 to 8.5. The presence of activator, Al3 +  and Fe3 + , enhanced the system performance. It is proposed that CTAB adsorbs on silica particles in polishing wastewater through electrostatic interaction and makes particles more hydrophobic. The increase in hydrophobicity results in more effective bubble-particle collisions. In addition, flocculation of silica particles through bridging effect of collector was found; it is believed that flocculation of particles also contributed to flotation. Better attachment between gas bubble and solid, higher buoyancy and higher air to solid ratio all lead to effective flotation.

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