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Mechanisms of action of particles used for fouling mitigation in membrane bioreactors

Abstract : Adding chemicals to the biofluid is an option to mitigate membrane fouling in membrane bioreactors. In particular, previous studies have shown that the addition of particles could enhance activated sludge filterability. Nevertheless, the mechanisms responsible for the improved filtration performance when particles are added are still unclear. Two main mechanisms might occur: soluble organic matter adsorption onto the particles and/or cake structure modification. To date, no studies have clearly dissociated the impact of these two phenomena as a method was needed for the in-line characterization of the cake structure during filtration. The objective of this study was thus to apply, for the first time, an optical method for in-situ, non-invasive, characterization of cake structure during filtration of a real biofluid in presence of particles. This method was firstly used to study local cake compressibility during the biofluid filtration. It was found that the first layers of the cake were incompressible whereas the cake appeared to be compressible at global scale. This questions the global scale analysis generally used to study cake compressibility and highlights the interest of coupling local characterization with overall process performance analysis. Secondly, the impact of adding submicronic melamine particles into the biofluid was studied. It appears that particles added into the biofluid strongly influence the cake properties, making it thicker and more permeable. Furthermore, by using liquid chromatography with an organic carbon detector to determine the detailed characteristics of the feed and permeate, it was shown that the modification of cake structure also affected the retention of soluble organic compounds by the membrane and thus the cake composition. Simultaneous use of a method for in-situ characterization of the cake structure with a detailed analysis of the fluid composition and monitoring of the global performance is thus a powerful method for evaluating cake structure and composition and their impact on global process performance. The use of this methodology should allow "cake engineering" to be developed so that cake properties (structure, composition) can be controlled and process performance optimized.
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Contributor : Patrick Loulergue <>
Submitted on : Friday, September 16, 2016 - 10:02:08 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 5:50:40 PM



Patrick Loulergue, Marie Weckert, Bernard Reboul, Corrine Cabassud, Wolfgang Uhl, et al.. Mechanisms of action of particles used for fouling mitigation in membrane bioreactors. Water Research, IWA Publishing, 2014, 66, pp.40-52. ⟨10.1016/j.watres.2014.07.035⟩. ⟨hal-01367406⟩



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