The efficient and economic management of waste activated sludge (WAS) requires a proper understanding of the sludge's material properties. Though there has been much study of WAS, an adequate linkage between its physical and chemical properties has been elusive. In particular, the conditioning and dewatering of WAS are expensive operations, and the addition of polymer to WAS leads to even more complex material behavior that is difficult to optimize. This paper reports on an extensive characterization of WAS, both with and without polymer conditioning. We combined the classical “jar test” approach with less conventional rheometric and electrokinetic measurements. In addition to the use of sampled WAS, a synthetic surrogate sludge was formulated, attempting to duplicate properties of WAS and allow more extensive characterization of a reproducible surrogate to WAS. Results with both the synthetic surrogate and WAS indicated that the traditional, electrokinetic, and rheological properties were related. However, the dose optima by rheometry were somewhat higher in both cases.

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