The Effect of Alkaline Material Particle Size on Adjustment Ability of Buffer Capacity


  • Girts Bumanis Riga Technical University



Alkaline material, Particle size effect, Leaching, Buffer capacity


The pH control in biotechnological processes like anaerobic digestion is one of the key factors to ensure high efficiency in the biogas production process. The decrease of pH level in the digestion process occurs due to the rapid acid formation during metabolic processes of bacteria which leads to the inhibition of the methane producing bacteria; therefore further digestion process is limited. The efficiency of anaerobic digestion reactor decreases dramatically if the pH level falls under pH 6.6. This problem is common for single-stage continuous digesters with a high organic solid content; therefore the active pH controlling method is commonly used. By creating inorganic alkaline material, the passive pH controlling system could be created. Soluble alkalis are enclosed in the matrix of material during the activation process thus providing slow leaching of free alkalis from the material structure in water medium and ensuring pH increase. In this research a porous alkaline composite material was developed as a pH controlling agent for the biogas production. Two mixture compositions with a different Si/Al and Si/Na ratio were created. The effect of particle size of the material was investigated in order to provide different leaching rates for the described material. Granular material with particle fractions 1/2 mm, 2/4 mm and 4/8 mm and a cubical specimen with dimensions 20×20×20 mm were tested. The pH level of water medium increased up to pH 11.6 during the first day and final pH value decreased to 7.8 after 20-day leaching. Alkali leaching can be increased by 19-32% changing the mixture composition by adding glass powder to the alkaline material. The particle size factor was negligible for leaching rate of alkaline material due to the high porosity of material. Research results show that this composite material has a potential to be applied in pH control for biotechnological purposes.


Author Biography

Girts Bumanis, Riga Technical University

Institute of Materials and Structures, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Riga Technical University, Researcher