Date of Award


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Paper Science and Engineering


Enormous quantities of water are required in the preparation and formation of paper products. One of the most costly operations in paper manufacture is removal of excess water from the sheet and disposal of by-products from paper production. Currently, high steam energy is necessary in the drying process of paper manufacture. Disposal of a paper by-product, sludge, is also a rising concern due to environmental risks, shrinking landfill space, and rising disposal costs. Both production costs and disposal costs could be reduced with a more effective and efficient process to enhance water removal in paper production and sludge disposal.

One possible way to reduce operation and disposal costs while minimizing the environmental impact of industry is electrokinetics. Electrokinetics is an electricity-driven separation process which was used in this thesis to assist water removal in a softwood furnish.

A bench scale pressing device capable of pressing a softwood furnish between two charged wire screens was used examine the effect of electrolyte concentration on water removal. Variables in this experiment included ion concentration and freeness. Different levels of alum were added to a softwood furnish and final pad consistency was compared to control runs which excluded current and alum additions.

The results indicated that for higher freeness pulps, the addition of alum in the electrokinetic press increased final pad consistency. However, for lower freeness pulps alum seemed to inhibit water removal. Further studies in applying electrokinetics should include the use of different cationic sources.