Rheological characterization of thermal hydrolysed waste activated sludge

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Abstract

Rheological properties are important in the design and operation of sludge-handling process. Despite this, the rheology of sludge in thermal hydrolysis processes (TH) is not well described. In-situ measurements were performed to characterize the flow behaviour of various concentrations (7–13 wt%) of waste activated sludge (WAS) at TH conditions. Equations were presented for predicting in-situ rheological parameters (high-shear viscosity, η∞,i, consistency index, ki, and yield stress, σc,i) under various treatment conditions, which are useful for design of process units. The equations enable convenient estimation of in-situ properties based on ambient rheological measurements. Results suggested that the proportion of sludge solubilization and its rate were unaffected by varying sludge concentration. Thermally treated sludge still exhibited gel-like, viscoelastic characteristics similar to untreated sludge; however, the storage (G′) and loss (G”) moduli decreased with higher treatment temperatures. Frequency and creep responses were described by a fractional derivatives Kelvin-Voigt (FKV) model, which showed increasing viscous characteristics of treated sludge. These equations can be utilised in CFD models. Results obtained from oscillatory measurements can also approximate steady-shear behaviour by comparing dynamic viscosity, η′(ω), and steady-shear viscosity, η(γ̇), whose values were very similar. This enables convenient estimation of steady-shear behaviour of sludge from oscillatory measurements, which is found to be a non-destructive technique for measuring flow behaviour of highly concentrated sludge. Yield stress can also be predicted from the product of modified Cox-Merz shift factors and storage modulus (G’). Practical engineering implications of the rheological observations were discussed.

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Hii, K., Farno, E., Baroutian, S., Parthasarathy, R., & Eshtiaghi, N. (2019). Rheological characterization of thermal hydrolysed waste activated sludge. Water Research, 156, 445–455. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2019.03.039

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