DEVELOPMENT OF A QUICK AND SIMPLE PROTOCOL TO IDENTIFY THE BEST PERFORMING POLYMER FOR SLUDGE DEWATERING
Torque rheometers measure torque caused by the resistance of a material to the applied shear, and are commonly used in plastic, polymer and food industries for quality control and comparison of material characteristics. One of the advantages of using torque rheometers is that they provide higher accuracy and reproducibility since they use large sample volumes and eliminate the difficulty of taking small, uniform, representative sub-samples of conditioned sludges. This study presents a simple protocol to determine the optimum polymer dose and identify the best performing polymer for wastewater sludge using torque rheometry. The area under a torque-time rheogram, also known as totalized torque, is closely related to sludge dewaterability (Örmeci and Abu-Orf, 2005 and Abu-Orf and Örmeci, 2005) and provides a unique tool to optimize sludge dewatering. The results of this study indicate that a local decrease is observed in the totalized torque values around the optimum polymer dose, which was determined by the capillary suction time and filtration tests. The presented method is quick and simple, and can determine the optimum dose and compare the performance of several different polymers within a few hours using a small portable rheometer. Treatment plant operators can potentially use the protocol to compare the performance of polymers on-site and determine the one that best fits their sludge characteristics and dewatering needs. The protocol can also be used to pre-select the candidate polymers before the full-scale testing. More research is needed, however, to fine-tune the method and test it with a wide range of polymers and several types of sludges. Once fully developed, the method can save time and reduce operational costs by identifying the best polymer, optimizing the conditioner use, improving the solids capture and producing a more consistent cake.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2006-01-01
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