Date of Defense

Spring 4-9-1996

First Advisor

David Peterson, Paper and Printing Science and Engineering

Second Advisor

Brian Scheller, Paper and Printing Science and Engineering


Over the past few years there has been a problem with decreasing landfill space and increasing solid waste disposal costs due to an increased amount of solid waste and public concern. Currently, there has been increasing interest in finding alternative methods to the disposal of paper mill water treatment plan sludges. Alternative methods have been found sludges from some plants but not for all. The type of alternative methods that can be used depends on the type of mill the sludge is from. The fiber content (how much long and how much short fiber), filler content, and chemical content are very important variables in determining the disposal alternative that can be used for each sludge. This thesis project was carried out to investigate a proposed alternative to landfill disposal, which is making insulation using sludge. The goal is this thesis project was to determine if it is feasible to design and insulation using recycle paper mill water treatment sludge. Feasibility was determine by insulating quality and cost of the insulation. Heat transfer methods and equations were used to determine insulating quality. Various cost factors, including drying and landfilling, were investigated to carry out a cost analysis. Various trials were run to examine differences in insulation quality between news and sludge insulation, and to examine the effects changes in energy input had on quality. At the completion of this thesis, it was determined that the heat transfer rate of sludge insulation is nearly identical to that of news insulation, even if less energy is put into dispersing the fibers. It was also found that the quality of the sludge insulation, as determined by relative comparisons, proves to be within 10% of the insulating quality of the news insulation; ksludge=(1.09) knews. The cost analysis showed a savings to both the mill and the insulation company. It was also determined that the insulation company uses enough raw material that a large diversion can be obtained from sludge entering landfills. Therefore, the preliminary tests indicate that this alternative to landfilling sludge is feasible in the area of quality and cost. Further research needs to be conducted to determine results on a large scale and to investigate several other areas that are involved in determining the overall viability of this alternative.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only