Incorporation of paper sludge in clay brick formulation : ten years of industrial experience
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The large amounts of sewage sludge (11 million tonnes in Europe in 2005) produced in paper manufacturing plants require the introduction of recycling and/or alternative recovery solutions to minimize the amounts of generated waste, such as its use in soil remediation or in the cement industry. A feasible alternative to valorize that waste is the use of paper sludge as raw material in the production of structural ceramic or clay bricks. Previous studies tried to incorporate sewage sludge from different sources into ceramic matrices, unfortunately with little success in the final result for most types of sludge. However, those experiments carried out using as additive sludge from the paper industry succeeded in producing amaterial suitable for the red ceramic industry. In this paper, binary mixtures of clay and paper sludge under different formulations were produced and their physico-chemical properties were studied. Increasing the paper sludge content in the clay mixture provides the material with improved properties regarding its thermal and acoustic insulation, but in turn it decreases its mechanical strength. However, this fragility of the material is compensated by an increased ductility. Regarding metal leaching, the studied ceramics have no environmental restrictions as far as their use as building material is concerned, as the obtained results were virtually identical to those for the blank samples (100% clay). Results showed that the presence of dichloromethane (373.2 µg m-3) and propanone (61.2 µg m-3) in the samples with added sludge was relatively relevant with respect to concentrations in samples made of 100% clay. All monocyclic aromatics detected showed a concentration level far below their odor threshold. In general, thus, it can be concluded that volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions during firing of the new ceramic material do not involve any particular problem. Finally, the experience obtained after more than 10 years of industrial production of this new mixed ceramic product was also analyzed. This analysis allowed confirmation that clay brick productionwith incorporation of paper sludge waste is a feasible solution froma technical point of view. As a key outcome, this fact has helped the reduction in a large proportion the amount of sludge produced by the Spanish paper industry ending up in landfills.
CitationCusido, J. [et al.]. Incorporation of paper sludge in clay brick formulation : ten years of industrial experience. "Applied clay science", Març 2015, vol. 108, p. 191-198.