For a number of reasons I have decided to pursue wood chips as a medium for my dry was system. I discovered after spending a few hours on the phone that hard wood chips are harder to come by than I thought. Many custom furniture makers use MDF as well as solid wood with all the chips/dust going into the same bin - no good - and the few I found that only used solid wood had there chips promised to equestrians to use as bedding.
So, after reading about some testing done with commercial bedding (Aspen chips) I thought I would do some testing as well. The commercial chips are easy to come by and pretty cheap.
I took a liter of 5% prewashed, settled, demethed (heat and bubbles) BD and mixed it with enough chips to fill the container but completely submerged in the BD. I let it set for 45 min then filtered through a paper towel.
Initial soap test showed 820.9ppm of soap.
Soap after chips, 273.6ppm, shakem up test was still cloudy
I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome so I remixed the same BD sample back into the initial batch of chips and let set for another 45min.
Soap after second filtering, 139.8ppm with a clear shaken up test.
I usually get 85 – 95ppm with water washing so while this is a pretty good result it is a little less than I’d hope for. If I can get my hands on some oak or other hard wood chips I will repeat this experiment and see if it works any better. It’s also worth noting that the BD did not come out crystal clear after the last filtering, still a bit of haze.
I noted a post discussing a test with kiln dried pine chips, interesting. I thought the resins in pine wood are problematic?
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Perhaps you need to give it more time and agitation. I have never used aspen, but it should be a good choice.
I tried some of Target's "Kaytee" brand aspen bedding, with what appears to be great success.
I demethed the batch (bubbling), let it settle, then poured it into a barrel with a package of the shavings.
#1 in the picture is just before pouring onto the shavings
#2 is after 10 minutes or so of mixing with a rake
#3 is 45 minutes later, mixing every 10 minutes or so
#4 is 4 hours later, no mixing after #3 (got busy with other tasks)
I don't have a soap test kit, but each bottle was shaken vigorously for 30 seconds.
It looks very promising!
Think about it this way. The numbers aren't quite as good, but I bet with some additional work you can get them down to your acceptable range. The big thing here is you can completely eliminate your water waste stream. At the end of their useful life the chips can be burned for heat.
"mixing up a bunch of magic stuff"
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