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Membrane fouling in a submerged membrane bioreactor: An unified approach to construct topography and to evaluate interaction energy between two randomly rough surfaces

Cai, Xiang, Shen, Liguo, Zhang, Meijia, Chen, Jianrong, Hong, Huachang, Lin, Hongjun
Bioresource technology 2017 v.243 pp. 1121-1132
energy, fouling, membrane bioreactors, topography
Quantitatively evaluating interaction energy between two randomly rough surfaces is the prerequisite to quantitatively understand and control membrane fouling in membrane bioreactors (MBRs). In this study, a new unified approach to construct rough topographies and to quantify interaction energy between a randomly rough particle and a randomly rough membrane was proposed. It was found that, natural rough topographies of both foulants and membrane could be well constructed by a modified two-variable Weierstrass-Mandelbrot (WM) function included in fractal theory. Spatial differential relationships between two constructed surfaces were accordingly established. Thereafter, a new approach combining these relationships, surface element integration (SEI) approach and composite Simpson’s rule was deduced to calculate the interaction energy between two randomly rough surfaces in a submerged MBR. The obtained results indicate the profound effects of surface morphology on interaction energy and membrane fouling. This study provided a basic approach to investigate membrane fouling and interface behaviors.