A series of studies was undertaken to investigate the impact of the system hydrodynamics (i.e., sparging intensity and membrane module configuration) the operating permeate flux and fouling reduction measures on the evolution of the trans-membrane pressure (TMP). The evolution in TMP could be modeled using a simple exponential relationship that incorporated the impact of the air sparging intensity, the membrane module configuration and the backwash cycles on the evolution in TMP. The extent of reversible fouling was a function of the operating permeate flux and the hydrodynamic conditions in the membrane system and could be characterized based on the difference between the operating permeate flux and the critical permeate flux. Reversible fouling could be eliminated during each backwash cycle. The extent of irreversible fouling was relatively low and was expected to be a function of the diffusion and adsorption tendency of foulants within the membrane pores.

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