Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 1262–1272 | Cite as

The Effects of Physicochemical Properties of Sludge on Dewaterability Under Chemical Conditioning with Amphoteric Polymer

  • Liang Qi
  • Shi-chuan Wu
  • Jian-hua ChengEmail author
  • Yong-you Hu
Original Paper


This study investigated the effects of chemical conditioning with amphoteric terpolymer poly (acrylamide-’acryloyloxyethyl trimethyl ammonium chloride -2-acrylamido-2-methyl-propane sulfonate) (PADA) on sludge dewaterability. Particle size, fractal dimension, surface charge, extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) and trivalent metal ions (Al3+ and Fe3+) of sludge were monitored and Pearson statistical analysis was used to understand the correlation of dewaterability and physicochemical properties of sludge. The results revealed that: (1) Sludge dewaterability was significantly enhanced by amphoteric polymer PADA. (2) Particle, fractal dimension and surface charge of sludge were associated with anionic degrees and molecular weights of polymer. (3) PADA had apparent effects on removal of EPS and enrichment of metal ions in sludge system. (4) Content of water and specific resistance to filtration had statistically strong correlations with the values of particle size, fractal dimension and EPS, but had weak correlations with values of surface charge and metal ions.


Physicochemical properties Fractal dimension Amphoteric polymer Sludge dewaterability Extracellular polymeric substances Pearson statistical analysis 



We gratefully acknowledge the National Natural Science Fund of China (Foundation of Guangdong Province of China; No. U1401235) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the National Central Universities (No. 2014ZZ0052) for their financial support. The Applied Science and Technology Development Project of Guangdong Province (No. 2016B020240005).

Supplementary material

10924_2016_884_MOESM1_ESM.doc (4.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 4519 kb)


  1. 1.
    Bo J, Wilén BM, Lant P (2004) Impacts of morphological, physical and chemical properties of sludge flocs on dewaterability of activated sludge. Chem Eng J 98:115–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bolto B, Gregory J (2007) Organic polyelectrolytes in water treatment. Water Res 41:2301–2324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bowman WA, Rubinstein M, Tan JS (1997) Polyelectrolyte-gelatin complexation: light–scattering study. Macromolecules 30:3262–3270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Broukhno A, Khan MO, Åkesson T, Bo J (2002) Polyampholyte-induced repulsion between charged surfaces: monte carlo simulation studies. Langmuir 18:6429–6436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chitikela S, Dentel SK (1998) Dual-chemical conditioning and dewatering of anaerobically digested biosolids: laboratory evaluations. Water Environ Res 70:1062–1069CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Colin F, Gazbar S (1995) Distribution of water in sludges in relation to their mechanical dewatering. Water Res 29:2000–2005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dobrynin AV, Obukhov SP, Rubinstein M (1999) Long-range multichain adsorption of polyampholytes on a charged surface. Macromolecules 32:5689–5700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fan A, Turro NJ, Somasundaran P (2000) A study of dual polymer flocculation. Coll Surf A Physicochem Eng Asp 162:141–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hamzeh Y, Ashori A, Marvast EH, Rashedi K, Olfat AM (2012) A comparative study on the effects of Coriolus versicolor on properties of HDPE/wood flour/paper sludge composites. Compos Part B Eng 43:2409–2414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Harif T, Khai M, Adin A (2012) Electrocoagulation versus chemical coagulation: coagulation/flocculation mechanisms and resulting floc characteristics. Water Res 46:3177–3188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Higgins MJ, Novak JT (1997) Dewatering and settling of activated sludges: the case for using cation analysis. Water Environ Res 69:225–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Higgins MJ, Novak JT (1997) The effect of cations on the settling and dewatering of activated sludges: laboratory results. Water Environ Res 69:215–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jin B, Wilén BM, Lant P (2003) A comprehensive insight into floc characteristics and their impact on compressibility and settleability of activated sludge. Chem Eng J 95:221–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jin P, Wang X (2001) Morphological characteristics of Al-humic floc and coagulation chemistry. Acta Sci Circumst 21(suppl):23–29Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kang SM, Kishimoto M, Shioya S, Yoshida T, Suga KI, Taguchi H (1989) Dewatering characteristics of activated sludges and effect of extracellular polymer. J Ferment Bioeng 68:117–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Karr PR, Keinath TM (1978) Influence of particle size on sludge dewaterability. J Water Pollut Control Fed 50:1911–1930Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kavaliauskaite R, Klimaviciute R, Zemaitaitis A (2008) Factors influencing production of cationic starches. Carbohydr Polym 73:665–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Keiding K, Nielsen PH (1997) Desorption of organic macromolecules from activated sludge: effect of ionic composition. Water Res 31:1665–1672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Knocke WR, Dishman CM, Miller GF (1993) Measurement of chemical sludge floc density and implications related to sludge dewatering. Water Environ Res 65:735–743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lee CH, Liu JC (2000) Enhanced sludge dewatering by dual polyelectrolytes conditioning. Water Res 34:4430–4436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Li XY, Yang SF (2007) Influence of loosely bound extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) on the flocculation, sedimentation and dewaterability of activated sludge. Water Res 41:1022–1030CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lin Q, Shu Q, Li C, Pan H, Wu Z, Liu G (2012) Synthesis, flocculation and adsorption performance of amphoteric starch. Carbohydr Polym 90:275–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lo IM, Lai KC, Chen G (2001) Salinity effect on mechanical dewatering of sludge with and without chemical conditioning. Environ Sci Technol 35:4691–4696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Luca C, Mihailescu S, Popa M (2002) Polymers containing quaternary ammonium groups based on poly(N-vinylimidazole). Eur Polym J 38:1501–1507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ma M, Zhu S (1999) Grafting polyelectrolytes onto polyacrylamide for flocculation 1. Polymer synthesis and characterization. Coll Polym Sci 277:115–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Murthy SN, Novak JT, Haas RDD (1998) Monitoring cations to predict and improve activated sludge settling and dewatering properties of industrial wastewaters. Water Sci Technol 38:119–126Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Neyret S, Ouali L, Candau F, Pefferkorn E (1997) Adsorption of polyampholytes on polystyrene latex: effect on colloid stability. Oil Gas Sci Technol 176:86–94Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Niu M, Zhang W, Wang D, Chen Y, Chen R (2013) Correlation of physicochemical properties and sludge dewaterability under chemical conditioning using inorganic coagulants. Bioresour Technol 144:337–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Novak JT, Huang JC (1988) The blinding of sludges during filtration. Journal 60:206–214Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    O’Shea JP, Qiao GG, Franks GV (2011) Temperature responsive flocculation and solid–liquid separations with charged random copolymers of poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide). J Coll Interf Sci 360:61–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Pourjavadi A, Fakoorpoor SM, Hosseini SH (2013) Novel cationic-modified salep as an efficient flocculating agent for settling of cement slurries. Carbohydr Polym 93:506–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Poxon TL, Darby JL (1997) Extracellular polyanions in digested sludge: measurement and relationship to sludge dewaterability. Water Res 31:749–758CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Qi L, Cheng J-H, Liang X-Y, Hu Y-Y (2016) Synthesis and characterization of a novel terpolymer and the effect of its amphoteric property on the sludge flocculation. Polym Eng Sci 56:158–169. doi: 10.1002/pen.24238 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Ramesh A, Lee DJ, Hong SG (2006) Soluble microbial products (SMP) and soluble extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) from wastewater sludge. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 73:219–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Simon S, Pairo B, Villain M, D’Abzac P, Van Hullebusch E, Lens P, Guibaud G (2009) Evaluation of size exclusion chromatography (SEC) for the characterization of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) in anaerobic granular sludges. Bioresour Technol 100:6258–6268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Sorensen PB, Bruus JH (1995) Effect of small scale solids migration in filter cakes during filtration of wastewater solids suspensions. Water Environ Res 67:25–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Tan PN, Hilal N, Hankins NP, Novak JT (2008) Determination of the effect of cations and cationic polyelectrolytes on the characteristics and final properties of synthetic and activated sludge. Desalination 222:307–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Urbain V, Block JC, Manem J (1993) Bioflocculation in activated sludge: an analytic approach. Water Res 27:829–838CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Wang JP, Yuan SJ, Wang Y, Yu HQ (2013) Synthesis, characterization and application of a novel starch-based flocculant with high flocculation and dewatering properties. Water Res 47:2643–2648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Watanabe YK, Kubo A, Sato S (1999) Application of amphoteric polyelectrolytes for sludge dewatering†. Langmuir 15:4157–4164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Wilen BM, Jin B, Lant P (2003) The influence of key chemical constituents in activated sludge on surface and flocculating properties. Water Res 37:2127–2139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Wu CC, Huang C, Lee DJ (1998) Bound water content and water binding strength on sludge flocs. Water Res 32:900–904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Yi L, Zheng H, Li Q, Sun Y, Li D, Xue W (2014) UV-initiated polymerization of hydrophobically associating cationic polyacrylamide modified by a surface-active monomer: a comparative study of synthesis, characterization, and sludge dewatering performance. Ind Eng Chem Res 53:11193–11203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Zhao YQ (2003) Correlations between floc physical properties and optimum polymer dosage in alum sludge conditioning and dewatering. Chem Eng J 92:227–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Zheng H, Sun Y, Guo J, Li F, Wei F, Yong L, Guan Q (2014) Characterization and evaluation of dewatering properties of PADB, a highly efficient cationic flocculant. Ind Eng Chem Res 53:2572–2582CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liang Qi
    • 1
  • Shi-chuan Wu
    • 1
  • Jian-hua Cheng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yong-you Hu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Ecological Remediation for Industrial Agglomeration Area, College of Environment and EnergySouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Lab of Pulp and Paper Engineering, College of Light Industry and Food ScienceSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations