Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models of dissolved air flotation (DAF) have shown formation of stratified flow (back and forth horizontal flow layers at the top of the separation zone) and its impact on improved DAF efficiency. However, there has been a lack of experimental validation of CFD predictions, especially in the presence of solid particles. In this work, for the first time, both two-phase (air–water) and three-phase (air–water–solid particles) CFD models were evaluated at pilot scale using measurements of residence time distribution, bubble layer position and bubble–particle contact efficiency. The pilot-scale results confirmed the accuracy of the CFD model for both two-phase and three-phase flows, but showed that the accuracy of the three-phase CFD model would partly depend on the estimation of bubble–particle attachment efficiency.

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