Cake fouling is the leading cause of membrane permeability decrease when filtering mixed liquor suspension containing high suspended solid concentrations. A simple model is proposed to simulate the cake resistance evolution with time by considering a macro-scale fouling linked only to the accumulation of particles on the membrane surface. This accumulation appears as the difference between the flux of deposited particles due to the filtration and the flux of particles detached from the membrane surface due to the tangential shear stresses caused by recirculation flow in the sidestream membrane bioreactor (MBR) or gas sparging close to the membrane surface for submerged MBR configuration. Two determining parameters were then highlighted: the specific cake resistance and the ‘shear parameter’. Based on these parameters it is possible to predict model outputs as cake resistance and permeate flux evolution for short-time filtration periods.

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