Rheology measurement, a state-of-the-art technology in a multitude of engineering disciplines, has often been used for computational fluid dynamic simulation of wastewater treatment processes, especially in anaerobic digestion and dewatering. In this work, rheological tests were used to study the semi-solid characteristics of sludge and a good result was obtained. The inorganic coagulants polyaluminum chloride (PAC) and ferric chloride (FC) both increased the floc strength of sludge, leading to higher rheology parameters such as elastic modulus, viscous modulus and specific thixotropy area. Curiously, the shape of all rheological curves exhibited little change with increasing coagulant dosage. The results indicated that various physical and chemical actions among coagulants and sludge flocs relate only to rigid structure, not to the nature of rheology behavior. Frequency sweep tests clearly showed that elastic modulus was a logarithmic function of frequency, suggesting that sludge could not properly be called a soft material due to its inorganic particles. An improved viscoelastic model was successfully developed to predict the experimental data of creep and recovery tests in the linear viscoelastic region. Furthermore, complicated viscoelastic behavior of sludge was also observed, and all the rheology tests could provide the optimum dosage of PAC but not the optimum dosage of FC.

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