Hydrothermal processing plays a significant role in sewage sludge treatment. However, the rheological behaviour of sludge during these processes is not fully understood. A better understanding of the sludge rheology under hydrothermal processing conditions can help improve process efficiency. Moreover, sludge rheology is easier to measure than chemical analyses. If a relationship could be established, it provides a possibility of using rheological measurement as a basis for monitoring the performance of hydrothermal processing. The rheological changes in thickened waste activated sludge (7 wt%) was investigated using a pressure cell-equipped rheometer during 60-min thermal hydrolysis (TH) at various temperatures (80–145 °C) and constant pressure (5 bar). Changes in the soluble chemical oxygen demand (COD) were measured using a separate reactor with a similar operating condition. The sludge behaved as a shear-thinning fluid and could be described by the Herschel-Bulkley model. At constant temperature, the yield stress and high-shear (600 s−1) viscosity of sludge decreased logarithmically over 60 min. At constant time, the yield stress and the high-shear viscosity decreased linearly with increasing TH temperature and these values was much less than corresponding properties after treatment and cooling down to 25 °C. The soluble COD of sludge also increased logarithmically over 60 min at constant temperature, and increased linearly with increasing temperature at constant time. Furthermore, the yield stress and high-shear viscosity reduction showed a linear correlation with the increase in soluble COD.
Hii, K., Parthasarathy, R., Baroutian, S., Gapes, D. J., & Eshtiaghi, N. (2017). Rheological measurements as a tool for monitoring the performance of high pressure and high temperature treatment of sewage sludge. Water Research, 114, 254–263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2017.02.031