Biomass & Bioenergy, Vol.81, 98-107, 2015
Multiscale structure characterization of sawdust-waste water sludge extrudates dried in a pilot-scale fixed bed
Convective drying of waste water sludge and sawdust-sludge mixtures in a pilot-scale fixed bed was studied. Drying was performed in a cross-flow convective dryer using 500 g of wet material extruded through a disk with circular dies 12 mm in diameter. The structure of the bed mainly shows volume shrinkage and crack formation during drying. Several characterization techniques were used over a wide range of scales from nm up to mm. The overall bed structure was imaged with X-ray macrotomography, at a resolution of 0.36 mm per pixel. Single extrudates were scanned with X-ray microtomography, at a resolution of 41 mu m per pixel. Pore structure of the dried samples were characterized by mercury porosimetry (7.5 nm < d(p) < 150 mu m). Results show significant structural changes on all scales with increasing amounts of sawdust: shrinkage decreases, crack formation increases, and the pores become larger. This confirms the benefits of sawdust addition for sludge drying applications. (c) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.