As with all membrane processes, turbulence, as promoted by aeration in submerged membrane bioreactors (MBRs) or pumping in sidestream (SS) systems to produce somewhat higher effective cross-flow velocities, increases mass transfer and reduces fouling. This is manifested in an elevated critical flux, the flux at which the membrane permeability is sustained. However, the non-Newtonian nature of the sludge makes precise rheological characterisation difficult. In this study, a calculation of the appropriate hydrodynamics parameters for a SS MBR configuration is presented. Optimisation of the aeration in a submerged MBR system has been attained by defining the minimum air velocity required for Taylor bubble formation.

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