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Effects of fractal roughness of membrane surfaces on interfacial interactions associated with membrane fouling in a membrane bioreactor

Feng, Shushu, Yu, Genying, Cai, Xiang, Eulade, Mahoro, Lin, Hongjun, Chen, Jianrong, Liu, Yong, Liao, Bao-Qiang
Bioresource technology 2017 v.244 pp. 560-568
adhesion, fouling, membrane bioreactors, roughness, surface area
Fractal roughness is one of the most important properties of a fractal surface. In this study, it was found that, randomly rough membrane surface was a fractal surface, which could be digitally modeled by a modified two-variable Weierstrass-Mandelbrot (WM) function. Fractal roughness of membrane surfaces has a typical power function relation with the statistical roughness of the modeled surface. Assessment of interfacial interactions showed that an increase in fractal roughness of membrane surfaces will strengthen and prolong the interfacial interactions between membranes and foulants, and under conditions in this study, will significantly increase the adhesion propensity of a foulant particle on membrane surface. This interesting result can be attributed to that increase in fractal roughness simultaneously improves separation distance and interaction surface area for adhesion of a foulant particle. This study gives deep insights into interfacial interactions and membrane fouling in MBRs.