Slurry is a mixture of solids and water. The term is most commonly used when referring to semi-liquid manure produced by farm animals, but it can also be relevant in other industrial settings. Slurry is like a solid liquid. It moves like a liquid and can be pumped from one location to another via pipes.
Which Industries Produce Slurry?
As already mentioned, farms often have slurry pits, where liquid animal waste is stored. This is then pumped out of the storage tank and into a container, where it is used as a liquid fertilizer on crops.
In the coal industry, a mixture of coal particles and water can be used as fuel to power diesel engines and gas turbines.
Slurry is also a product in the food production industry. A mixture of cornstarch and cold water is a common thickening ingredient for soups and other liquid food products. In a manufacturing environment, there may be large tanks of thickener slurry, which are pumped into other products.
In the construction industry, a thick mix of liquid concrete is classed as a slurry. The finer the grains of cement and sand, the thinner the slurry. Concrete is used in multiple applications in the construction industry and creating a liquid slurry mix means it is easier to transport to a site and the exact area where it is needed, such as into piling trenches and foundations.
Settling and Non-Settling Slurry
Settling slurry has larger particles, which tend to settle at the bottom of the tank when the slurry is stored. A non-settling slurry is more of a homogenous liquid where particles are very fine, and the slurry resembles sludge.
Vacuums and Pumps
Vacuum pumps are used to reduce the amount of labor needed to move slurry from a collection area into a tank.
A slurry pump can work at high or low pressure. They pump slurry through pipes and into a tank. Pumps have in-built impellers to chop up larger waste particles, thus minimizing the risk of blockages. The longer the pipe, the higher the pressure needed to pump the slurry.
Because of the nature of what they do, slurry pumps are more robust than other types of pumps. The materials being pumped are often highly corrosive, which can cause damage.
Collecting Slurry in Agriculture
Special systems are needed to collect slurry in the agriculture industry. Intensively farmed animals like pigs are often kept in enclosures with slotted floors, so the liquid waste falls through the gaps and is collected in a tank below. The tank can then be removed with it is full and replaced with an empty one. A scraper is another method of collecting slurry. Large mechanical scrapers are often used in larger barns where animals are free to roam. A farmer can attach a scraper to a tractor and push all the waste into a collection area, where it is vacuumed up and deposited into a tank using a slurry pump.
Slurry is often a waste product of other processes, but if handled correctly, it can become a useful and profitable material.
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