Alken-Murray header

Polymer Jar Test Procedures

green divider bar


The standard jar test is a critical procedure for selecting the appropriate polymer for a aparticular clarification application. This procedure allows individual polymers to be compared on such criteria as floc formation, settling characteristics, and clarity. Generally, the best performing products provide fast floc formation, rapid settling rate, and clear supernatant. This test should be performed on-site, since large amounts of water may be required for testing.

To save time, prepare the polymer test solutions , between 12 and 24 hours in advance.

Required Equipment

  1. Standard overhead stirrer/jar tester, preferably with 6 stations and an illuminated base, beneath the beakers. Thomas Scientific sells two different Phipps & Byrd models, which are updates to the one Alken-Murray uses.

  2. Beakers: 1 l.iter (1,000 mL) beaker (one beaker per station on gang stirrer times the number of test runs with various dilutions and competing polymers) You can purchase a box of 6 x 1 liter beakers, with optimum price offered for purchase of a case of 4 boxes, for a total of 24 x 1 liter beakers, sufficient for an active polymer laboratory.

  3. Jars containing diluted Alken-Solutions polymer at 0.1%, 0.5% and 1.0%. You can see from the table below that these dilutions will allow you to apply treatment up to 20 mg/L in the sample beaker.

  4. Stopwatch or timer (Alken-Murray uses GraLab models 171 and 300 mechanical timers with alarm and Omega Pro-Lab digital model with alarm.

  5. Disposable pipets (1 ml , 5 ml, 10 ml) with mechanical dispensing pump, such as Pipet-Aid.(Alternatively utilize disposable syringes with 16 or 18 gauge needles or remove needle completely (1 cc, 4 cc and 10 cc)
  6. pH meter.

  7. Turbidimeter. Hach makes several good models of turbidimeter .

  8. 5 gallon (20 liter) bucket for gathering client wastewater, lake/pond water or drinking water samples from potential clients.

green divider line

Polymer Dosage Chart

Polymer Volume, in mL, Needed to Achieve the Desired ppm in 1,000 m sample

 Desired ppm ------>  0.25  0.5  1.0  2.0  3.0  5.0  10  20

 Polymer Concentration

 0.25  0.5  1.0  2.0  3.0  *  *  *

 #  #  #  0.4  0.6  1.0  2.0  4.0

 #  #  #  #  #  0.5  1.0  2.0

*Use higher polymer solution concentration
#Use lower polymer solution concentration

Test Procedure

Check the total alkalinity and pH of the water to be tested. Water containing an alkalinity of at least 25 mg/L and pH of 7.0 will coagulate without adding alkaline salts. Color, as opposed to turbidity can often be removed by lowering the pH as far as 6.0, by using alum or an acid. Values higher than pH 7 may be helpful in removing manganese, while still forming a floc.

  1. Collect 5 gallon sample(s) of water to be tested . This water should not have any polymer in it, however, it should contain whatever substances that are typical of the system toi be treated.
  2. Fill the 1,000 mL beakers with 1,000 mL of samples. Place these on the gang stirrer..

  3. Start the stirrer running at (80-100 rpm).

  4. If the water system uses a primary coagulant, such as polyaluminum chloride or ferric sulfate, this should be added, here, to produce the concentration typical of the target system, UNLESS you are testing the feasibility of substituting the polymer for the primary coagulant.* Wait 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

  5. Add Polymer solution, in the amounts determined by the Dosage Chart, to each of the sample beakers, and mix for 30-60 seconds.

  6. Observe and record rate of floc formation and size of floc.

  7. Stop the stirrer and allow samples to settle for at least 5 minutes.

  8. Observe the following:
    • Settling rate.
    • Floc separation (floating separate clumps)
    • Supernatant clarity.
    • Supernatant turbidity

  9. Record data on appropriate form or spreadsheet for later reference.

* Attempt to mimic actual system conditions.

green divider line


The floc formed in the Jar Test can be further evaluated using this procedure. This method is also used for primary and secondary clarifiers and sludge thickeners. Performance in this test is evaluated on floc settling rate, sludge volume, and clarity of supernatant.

Required Equipment

  1. Graduated cylinders 250 mL, as many as are to be used for concurrent tests.

  2. Bucker for sample collection: 5 gallon capacity

  3. Stopwatch or timer.

  4. Syringes: 1 cc, 5 cc

  5. Pipetes: 25 mL.

  6. Turbidimeter.

Polymer Dosage Chart

Polymer Volume, in mL, Needed to Achieve the Desired ppm in 250 mL Sample

 Desired ppm ---------->  0.25  0.5  1.0  2.0  3.0  5.0  10  20

 Polymer Concentration

 0.25  0.5  1.0  2.0  3.0  *  *  *

 #  #  #  0.4  0.6  1.0  2.0  4.0

 #  #  #  #  #  0.5  1.0  2.0

*Use higher polymer solution concentration
#Use lower polymer solution concentration

 Test Procedure

  1. Collect 5 gallons of water to be tested. This water should not contain any polymer, however, it should contain whatever substances are typical of the system to be treated.

  2. Fill a graduated 250 mL cylinder with 250 mL of sample.

  3. Add polymer solution according to the dose chart.

  4. Cap cylinder and invert it six times. Consistent mixing is important.

  5. Record the time required for the sludge zone to move from the 230 mL mark and the 170 mL mark on the cylinder.

  6. Record the settling rate as mm/sec. Measure the distance between the 230 mL and the 170 mL marks, in mm. Usually this distance is about 60 mm.

  7. Allow the sample to continue settling for 30 minutes and measure the final sludge volume.
  8. Pipet a 25 mL sample of supernatant and measure and record the turbidity.

  9. Record data on appropriate form or spreadsheet.

green divider line


Polymer Market || Industry vs. Applications || Standard Jar Test || Polymer Dilution || Emulsion Breaking Solution || Buchner Funnel Test || Operational Tips || AS A3025L || AS A3040L || AS A3050L || AS A4040L ||  AS C111K || AS C133K || AS C186K || AS C187K || AS C189K || AS C193K || AS N3100L ||

link to Alken-Murray homepage