Ultrasonic Sludge Disintegration
Ultrawaves have won international recognition for their work since 1995 on the development of new procedures for treating water, wastewater and biomass (sludge) by ulitising ultrasound.
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As with other acoustic waves, ultrasound subjects substances (water, in this case), to alternating compression and expansion. At higher intensities, ultrasound breaks up the aqueous medium during the expansion phase. As a result, microscopically small cavities filled with water-vapour or gas are formed in the fluid.
During the subsequent compression phase, these bubbles implode as a result of the extreme conditions generated on the micro-level, a process known as cavitation. Pressures as extreme as 500 bar and temperatures up to 5,200 Kelvin are attained. The implosion of the gas-bubbles produces powerful shear forces which break up the surfaces of bacteria, fungi and other cellular matter.
At lower frequencies, (20 kHz - 100 kHz) large cavitation bubbles are produced, the collapse of which cause these extreme hydraulic shear forces and effects. In the middle frequency range (100 kHz - 1 MHz) smaller, but nonetheless effective cavitation bubbles are produced, and radical sonochemical reactions occur in the water.
When sonicated at frequencies higher than 1 MHz, the liquid starts to stream on the molecular level.
At different acoustic frequencies the following remediation effects can be obtained:
- Frequency range between 20 kHz - 100 kHz: disintegration of cells, disinfection, destruction of polymers, release of enzymes.
- Frequency range between 100 kHz - 1 MHz: break up of the structure of (chloro-)organic compounds such as chlorophenol, TBT, MTBE, release of enzymes.
- Frequency range between 1 MHz - 10 MHz: desorption of absorbed organic molecules from solid surfaces, biologically available organic matter, simultaneous biological degradation.
The results are less Sludge and/or more Biogas from the Wastewater Treatment Plant.