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Evaluation of fouling formation and evolution on hollow fibre membrane: effects of ageing and chemical exposure on biofoulant

, : Evaluation of fouling formation and evolution on hollow fibre membrane: effects of ageing and chemical exposure on biofoulant. Water Research 68: 182-193

Bio-deposition and biofouling, a major challenge for membrane filtration, is still not fully understood due to its complex structure and intricate evolution with time and chemical environment. In this work, diluted sludge from an anaerobic bioreactor with low mixed liquor suspended solid (MLSS) concentration was filtered for 3.5 h to form initial fouling layers which were then exposed to various solution environments for 17 h. Apart from monitoring the hydraulic resistance of membrane fouling, a real time direct observation (DO) technique was applied to monitor the change of thickness in the fouling layer. The cohesion and adhesion of different fouling layer were investigated by monitoring the transmembrane pressure (TMP) and thickness change after applying relaxation (cessation of filtration) and backwash. It was found that TMPs and resistances of the aged fouling layers increased significantly after 17 h filtration. All the aged fouling layers exhibited lower compressibility as a result of more soluble microbial products (SMP) and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) excretion, biofilm growth. From in situ imaging, the fouling on the membrane surface appeared to be inhomogeneous from the inner (lumen) surface outwards. During long term filtration of fouling layer with Milli-Q water, direct observation (DO) results indicated the reorganization of the fouling layer in terms of peeling, rolling over and re-depositing on the membrane surface, resulting into more compressed fouling layers with higher resistances. Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM) analysis of aged fouling layers also indicated that the dead/total ratio of microorganisms was not uniform and increased gradually from the bottom to the top of the fouling layers.


PMID: 25462727

DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2014.10.004

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