Thermal hydrolysis (TH) has been used to improve anaerobic digestion performance as well as the stability of heavy metals in sludge. Because the toxicity of heavy metals is closely related to both the concentration and the chemical speciation, more exhaustive studies on speciation distribution are urgently needed. This research aimed to investigate the effects of TH treatment (especially the time and temperature) on the concentration and stability of heavy metals in sludge, and to define the optimal TH conditions. The TH experiment indicated that the content of the stable form of Cu and Zn reached 83% and 47.4%, respectively, with TH at 210°C and 30 min. Compared with the raw sludge, the proportion of Cu and Zn increased by 11.88% and 7.3%, respectively. Results indicated that the heavy metals were combined with sludge in a more stable form with the pretreatment of TH, which improved the stability of heavy metals.

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