Date of Award


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Paper Science and Engineering


In the paper industry today, there is a rising concern over the question of what to do with the paper mill sludge. Although in the past most of the sludge was sent to a landfill, this disposal method is becoming less and less acceptable due to increasing environmental concerns, decreasing landfill space and increasing costs.

Since sludge contains a large fraction of water, one of the alternatives is to increase the dewaterability of the sludge through the use of electrokinetic forces. Increased dewatering of the sludge would allow for more economical alternatives to sludge disposal, such as incineration, as well as decrease the sludge handling, transportation, and disposal costs by reducing both volume and weight. The main objective of this thesis was to determine if the application of an electric current through a sludge press would increase the amount of dewatering in the sludge.

A simulated press that allowed for the sludge to be pressed in-between two charged screens and water to be collected from both the top and bottom of the press was designed and constructed. During experimentation, drainage amounts and final sludge consistency was collected under varying voltage applications and compared to a control run with no voltage.

From the results, it could be concluded that the application of an electric field did indeed help increase the dewaterability of the sludge. The results also show that ion migration does take place in the sludge with positively charged particles carrying water molecules towards the negatively charged screen. Further studies in applying this concept at higher pressing consistencies as well as other applications is recommended.