Experimental studies were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of backwashing and air-scouring to prevent cake-layer formation on the membranes in a hybrid PAC-MF process. The membrane filtration chamber used in this study was separated into two zones; namely, the PAC adsorption zone (PAZ) and the membrane filtration zone (MFZ). In MFZ tubular ceramic membranes were installed, and powdered activated carbon (PAC) was suspended in PAZ at a concentration of 20 g/L by aeration. Air-scouring and backwashing rates were gradually increased to see if these physical cleaning measures can reduce or maintain the filtration resistance due to formation of PAC cake layer on the membrane. Two types of saw-dust PAC having different sizes were used to find the difference of the effects of air-scouring and backwashing. A smaller PAC (Shirasagi C1, Japan EnviroChemicals, Co.) showed a slower increasing rate of filtration resistance than the larger PAC (Shirasagi S-10, Japan EnviroChemicals, Co.). It was found that air-scouring didn't reduce the rate of cake fouling formation of PAC S-10, but can quite effectively reduce the rate of PAC C-1 attachment to the membrane. On the contrary, backwashing was not effective for PAC C-1, but quite effective for PAC S-10. PAC C1 formed a porous cake with low specific resistance, which can be easily removed by air-scouring, but cannot be removed by backwashing. On the other hand, PAC S-10 formed a tight cake layer because suspended particles get in to the void space between the PAC S-10. A dynamic model was proposed to explain the effect of air-scouring and backwashing to removal cake layer from the membranes.

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