A dredged sludge was studied to investigate the influence of ageing and of pretreatment on its drying rate, water sorption/retention, thermal mass loss, XRD and microstructure (SEM).
Ageing caused change in particle thickness and specific surface, a gradual aggregation to form units of the size 10–50 μm, formation of macropores of similar size, unhomogeneity and fissures between aggregates and “super-aggregates”. Macropores were detectable by the initial drying rate especially at 45°C. They indicated a tendency of collapsing at a lower drying rate at 30°C. This is consistent with SEM observations. With ageing the aggregates were more compact and less sensitive to drying.
The aggregated system indicated a higher initial drying rate (higher permeability), whereas stirring induced a lower drying rate, favouring the formation of compact laminar structure.
XRD peak intensity was lowered with ageing due to decrease in crystallinity (stacking faults and/or decrease in crystallite size). The content of amorphous material was lowered as well, reducing water sorption/desorption, which indicated that the specific surface is lower.
From the suitable microstructure induced by ageing some new phases may form (feldspar, zeolites), preferably in the coarser fraction of the sludge. This is disturbed by stirring which operation expels also carbonates from the particle edges and this may reduce the structural strength of the sludge. In aged bentonite suspension a similar tendency was observed of formation of specific microstructures capable of phase transformation, e.g. to feldspar.
1 Stepkowska, E. T., Pérez-Rodríguez, J. L., Justo, A., Maqueda, C., Boels, D. and van Heteren, J., Proc. CATS Congress, Gent '91, 1991, pp. 251–258.
Stepkowska, E. T., Pérez-Rodríguez, J. L., Justo, A., Maqueda, C., Boels, D. and van Heteren, J., Proc. CATS Congress, Gent '91, 1991, pp. 251–258.)| false