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Rheologica Acta

, Volume 48, Issue 9, pp 1005–1015 | Cite as

Rheology measurements of a biomass slurry: an inter-laboratory study

  • Jonathan J. Stickel
  • Jeffrey S. Knutsen
  • Matthew W. Liberatore
  • Wing Luu
  • Douglas W. Bousfield
  • Daniel J. Klingenberg
  • C. Tim Scott
  • Thatcher W. Root
  • Max R. Ehrhardt
  • Thomas O. Monz
Original Contribution

Abstract

The conversion of biomass, specifically lignocellulosic biomass, into fuels and chemicals has recently gained national attention as an alternative to the use of fossil fuels. Increasing the concentration of the biomass solids during biochemical conversion has a large potential to reduce production costs. These concentrated biomass slurries have highly viscous, non-Newtonian behavior that poses several technical challenges to the conversion process. A collaborative effort to measure the rheology of a biomass slurry at four separate laboratories has been undertaken. A comprehensive set of rheological properties were measured using several different rheometers, flow geometries, and experimental methods. The tendency for settling, water evaporation, and wall slip required special care when performing the experiments. The rheological properties were measured at different concentrations up to 30% insoluble solids by mass. The slurry was found to be strongly shear-thinning, to be viscoelastic, and to have a significant concentration-dependent yield stress. The elastic modulus was found to be almost an order of magnitude larger than the loss modulus and weakly dependent on frequency. The techniques and results of this work will be useful to characterize other biomass slurries and in the design of biochemical conversion processing steps that operate at high solids concentrations.

Keywords

Biomass Yield stress Shear thinning Viscoelasticity Wall slip 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of the Biomass Program and in part by the National Research Initiative of the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, grant number 2006-35504-17401. J. Stickel would like to thank Christine Roche for help with sample preparation.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan J. Stickel
    • 1
  • Jeffrey S. Knutsen
    • 2
  • Matthew W. Liberatore
    • 2
  • Wing Luu
    • 3
  • Douglas W. Bousfield
    • 3
  • Daniel J. Klingenberg
    • 4
  • C. Tim Scott
    • 5
  • Thatcher W. Root
    • 4
  • Max R. Ehrhardt
    • 4
  • Thomas O. Monz
    • 4
  1. 1.National Bioenergy CenterNational Renewable Energy LaboratoryGoldenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringColorado School of MinesGoldenUSA
  3. 3.Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Rheology Research CenterUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  5. 5.U.S. Forest Service Forest Products LaboratoryMadisonUSA

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