Settling velocity or fall velocity or terminal velocity (ws) of a (sediment) particle is the rate at which the sediment settles in still fluid. It is diagnostic of grain size, but is also sensitive to the shape (roundness and sphericity) and density of the grains as well as to the viscosity and density of the fluid. It integrates all of these into a key transport parameter.
where w is the settling velocity, ρ is density (the subscripts p and f indicate particle and fluid respectively), g is the acceleration due to gravity, r is the radius of the particle and μ is the dynamic viscosity of the fluid.
Stokes' law applies when the Reynolds number is less than 0.1.
Settling tanks are used for separating solids and/or oil from another liquid. In food processing, the vegetable is crushed and placed inside of a settling tank with water. The oil floats the top of the water then is collected. In water and waste water treatment a flocculant is often added prior to settling to form larger particles that settle out quickly in a settling tank leaving the water with a lower turbidity.