Investigations involving human faeces and faecal sludge are of great importance for urban sanitation, such as operation and maintenance of sewer systems, or implementation of faecal sludge management. However, working with real faecal matter is difficult as it not only involves working with a pathogenic, malodorous material but also individual faeces and faecal sludge samples are highly variable, making it difficult to execute repeatable experiments. Synthetic faeces and faecal sludge can provide consistently reproducible substrate and alleviate these challenges. A critical literature review of simulants developed for various wastewater and faecal sludge related research is provided. Most individual studies sought to develop a simulant representative of specific physical, chemical, or thermal properties depending on their research objectives. Based on the review, a suitable simulant can be chosen and used or further developed according to the research needs. As an example, the authors present such a modification for the development of a simulant that can be used for investigating the motion (movement, settling and sedimentation) of faeces and their physical and biological disintegration in sewers and in on-site sanitation systems.

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