Dependence of shear and concentration on fouling in a membrane bioreactor with rotating membrane discs



Rotating ceramic membrane discs were fouled with lab-scale membrane bioreactors (MBR) sludge. Sludge filtrations were performed at varying rotation speeds and in different concentric rings of the membranes on different sludge concentrations. Data showed that the back transport expressed by limiting flux increased with rotation speed and distance from membrane center as an effect of shear. Further, the limiting flux decreased with increasing sludge concentration. A model was developed to link the sludge concentration and shear stress to the limiting flux. The model was able to simulate the effect of shear stress and sludge concentration on the limiting flux. The model was developed by calculating the shear rate at laminar flow regime at different rotation speeds and radii on the membrane. Furthermore, through the shear rate and shear stress, the non-Newtonian behavior of MBR sludge was addressed. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J 60: 706–715, 2014