A simple two-phase conceptual model is postulated to explain the initial growth of microbubbles after pressure release in dissolved air flotation. During the first phase bubbles merely expand from existing nucleation centres as air precipitates from solution, without bubble coalescence. This phase ends when all excess air is transferred to the gas phase. During the second phase, the total air volume remains the same, but bubbles continue to grow due to bubble coalescence.

This model is used to explain the results from experiments where three different nozzle variations were tested, namely a nozzle with an impinging surface immediately outside the nozzle orifice, a nozzle with a bend in the nozzle channel, and a nozzle with a tapering outlet immediately outside the nozzle orifice. From these experiments, it is inferred that the first phase of bubble growth is completed at approximately 1.7 ms after the start of pressure release.