Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



Less expensive bench-scale composting reactor systems which can mimic actual composting process via self-heating are needed. One can achieve such systems without using the expensive temperature feed-back control by properly insulating the bench composting reactors. However, the knowledge of heat generation and transfer in bench composting reactors is essential in properly designing such inexpensive insulation systems. All compost trial temperature profiles illustrated initial elevated temperature levels followed by a slow gradual temperature decreasing phase. Of all of the variables, the airflow rate, the volume and the overall heat transfer coefficient, seem to have the greatest impact on producing thermophilic temperatures. From the data obtained from the experiments, some design criteria are suggested. An air flow rate of 1 m3/(kg-VS-d), an heat transfer coefficient less than .010 J/(m2-K-d), and a compost volume of ten liters or greater value are parameter guidelines for future research. The guideline of moisture content equal to or greater than 30% held. With the experiments being a success in producing self-heating elevated temperatures, it is obvious that the precise parameters necessary are still vague. Additional future study is needed to specify the parameters necessary for optimal composting. A better understanding of composting kinetics, energy values of compost components, and mass transfer during water evaporation is needed.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Donald Dean Adrian