Polymeric flocculants are widely used due to their ability to efficiently promote flocculation at low dosages. However, fundamental background knowledge about how they act and interact with the substrates is often scarce, or insufficient to infer the best chemical configuration for treating a specific effluent. Inductive, data-driven approaches offer a viable solution, enabling the development of effective solutions for each type of effluent, overcoming the knowledge gap. In this work, we present such an inductive workflow that combines the statistical design of experiments and predictive modelling, and demonstrates its effectiveness in the development of anionic polymeric flocculants for the treatment of a real effluent from the potato crisps manufacturing industry. Based on the results presented, it is possible to conclude that the hydrodynamic diameter, charged fraction and concentration are the parameters with a stronger influence on the characteristics of flocs obtained when using copolymers, while the charged fraction, concentration and hydrophobic content present a stronger influence on the characteristics of flocs obtained using terpolymers containing a hydrophobic monomer.
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