Development of low-cost rotational rheometer

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Liquids with non-Newtonian properties are presented in many engineering areas, as for example in membrane bioreactors where active sludge exhibits shear thinning properties. Therefore, the ability to determine the rheology's dependence on shear is important when optimising systems with such liquids. However, rheometers capable of determining the viscosity are often expensive and so a cheaper alternative is constructed with this exact capability. Using the principle of rotating rheometers, a low-cost rheometer was built to determine the rheology of Newtonian and non-Newtonian liquids. The general principles and background assumptions and the physics are described. The rheometer was calibrated by comparison with measurements conducted on a Brookfield viscometer for Newtonian liquids. For validation measurements on non-Newtonian liquids, xanthan gum solutions were made and compared with measurements on the Brookfield viscometer and with values from other sources. Furthermore, the effect of excluding the different shear rates in the system is discussed and good practice hereto is given.

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