The hydrodynamic conditions and the substrate load in biofilm systems are two main parameters which influence the biofilm growth in particular the structure, density and thickness. In a long term study on heterotrophic biofilms in biofilm tube reactors the investigation has focussed on mass transfer at the bulk/biofilm interface, the biofilm density and the substrate conversion rates. To study the mass transfer phenomena at the bulk/biofilm interface oxygen profiles have been measured directly in tube reactors with microelectrodes. Microelectrode studies, substrate conversion rates and biofilm densities were used to formulate model equations for the simulation of biofilm growth under different hydrodynamic and substrate conditions. It can be shown that the mass transfer at any time is strongly coupled with the growth conditions during the biofilm cultivation. On the one side the calculated Sherwood numbers were coupled to the present hydraulic conditions, on the other side in addition the growth conditions such as growth rate and Reynolds number during biofilm cultivation were considered.

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