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It is difficult to explain how flow forms assist in treatment of water.  There is an obvious pattern of counter current oscillation that can draw and absorb dissolved oxygen from the air.  From that point of view, flow forms can be seen as an aeration device.  There are anecdotal explanations stating that flow forms revitalize water and provide a stimulus for biological growth.  For your average water engineer, the function of a flow form cannot be measured with an instrument or analysed in a laboratory.  There is, however, a usefulness that can best be described by way of analogy.  It’s called the rope analogy.

We all know that rope is constituted from strands intertwined in a circular or braided pattern.  The patterning gives the rope extra strength by employing the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  Extra strength is attained via the inter twine friction force that increases as a rope is stretched under tension.  When a length of rope is relaxed and is lying on the ground, gently rolling of the rope will result in particles from the ground getting pinched between the strands. Continual rolling action will enmesh the particles, which could be sand or bits of leaf, even further.  Tightening the rope will fasten the debris, securing all in a vice like grip.

Flow forms act as rope slackening agent.  And not just slackening.  By loosely flicking the rope back and forth, by allowing the strands to disengage from each other, trapped particles will be loosened and let free.  The flow forms play this action out with water, gently flicking in one direction, gently in the other.  It’s the combination of energetic flicking followed by relaxation that allows release of trapped compounds.

Water is sticky.  Because of the dipolar nature of the H2O molecule, water readily attaches to any compound with a slight charge.  This is one of the properties of water that make it such a good solvent.  It is also the reason why it is extremely difficult to separate dissolved organic compounds from a water solution.  In extremis, nature does it in two ways;  1) evapouration and 2) freezing.  For engineered solutions, these are options although very expensive.  If the organic compound is biodegradable, compounds that for instance in conglomeration we term sewage, a biological solution is viable.  When efficiency is measured, it is not certain that flow forms can compete with bacteria, but flow forms provide a support structure, the value of which is as yet unmeasured.

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