A numerical model and measurements of flow and settling in activated sludge suspension is presented. The numerical model is an attempt to describe the complex and interrelated hydraulic and sedimentation phenomena by describing the turbulent flow field and the transport/dispersion of suspended sludge. Phenomena such as free and hindered settling and the Bingham plastic characteristic of activated sludge suspensions are included in the numerical model.
Further characterisation and test tank experiments are described. The characterisation experiments were designed to measure calibration parameters for model description of settling and density differences. In the test tank experiments, flow velocities and suspended sludge concentrations were measured with different tank inlet geometry and hydraulic and sludge loads. The test tank experiments provided results for the calibration of the numerical model and for comparing measured and calculated results.
The numerical model could, fairly accurately, predict the measured results and both the measured and calculated results showed a flow field pattern identical to the flow fields in full-scale secondary settling tanks. A specific calibration of the Bingham plastic characteristic was needed and further knowledge of activated sludge suspension rheology will be necessary to improve the numerical model.