A method to calculate the compression zone height in continuous thickeners is presented. With this method, it is necessary to know the variations of the pulp-supernatant interface and the sediment height vs. time in a batch test. This method is discussed considering the following aspects: relationship between the settling rate of solids and their concentration in the settling zone; and the compression of solids due to the squeeze transmitted by the upper layers—unbuoyed weight of particles minus force of friction due to the Darcian flow. When the variation of the sediment height vs. time becomes linear, it is possible to calculate the maximum solids concentration which can be reached by sedimentation. The change of the solids matrix permeability and its influence on the method proposed are also analyzed.
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