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Influence of membrane surface roughness on interfacial interactions with sludge flocs in a submerged membrane bioreactor

Zhao, Leihong, Shen, Liguo, He, Yiming, Hong, Huachang, Lin, Hongjun
Journal of colloid and interface science 2015 v.446 pp. 84-90
energy, fouling, membrane bioreactors, models, roughness, sludge, surface roughness
In this study, the interfacial interactions between sludge flocs and a rough membrane surface in a submerged membrane bioreactor were investigated. Models describing these interfacial interactions were firstly proposed based on the surface element integration (SEI) method. Surface properties of sludge flocs and membrane were experimentally determined to simulate the models through composite Simpson’s rule. It was found that, roughness on membrane surface significantly decreased interaction strength, which enabled the sludge flocs to more easily attach on and detach from the rough membrane surface. Further analysis showed that the value of total interaction energy increased with asperity radius, while the strength of total interaction energy decreased with asperity height. Results also demonstrated that increase in floc size would significantly decrease the attractive specific total interaction with rough membrane surface. It was revealed that there existed a critical asperity radius above which the total interaction energy in certain separation distance coverage was continuously repulsive, facilitating membrane fouling control in MBRs. This study demonstrated the possibility to mitigate membrane fouling by “tailoring” membrane surface roughness.