Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) have been used successfully in biological wastewater treatment for effective solids–liquid separation. However, a common problem encountered with MBR systems is fouling of the membrane resulting in frequent membrane cleaning and replacement which makes the system less appealing for full-scale applications. It has been widely demonstrated that the filtration performances in MBRs can be improved by understanding the shear stress over the membrane surface. Modern tools such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can be used to diagnose and understand the shear stress in an MBR. Nevertheless, proper experimental validation is required to validate CFD simulation. In this work experimental measurements of shear stress induced by impellers at a membrane surface were made with an electrochemical approach and the results were used to validate CFD simulations. As good results were obtained with the CFD model (<9% error), it was extrapolated to include the non-Newtonian behaviour of activated sludge.

This content is only available as a PDF.