Study on the Effect of Flux on Particle Fouling in a Submerged Membrane Filtration System Using a Photo-interrupt Sensor

Kuo-Lun Tung, Hemlata-Rahul Damodar, Rahul-Ashok Damodar, Nien-Jung Lin, Ching-Jung Chuang, Sheng-Jie You, Yu-Ling Li



The present study describes an application of anon-destructive in-situ optical method to determine the growth of fouling layer using a photo-interrupt sensor array. This online monitoring technique was applied for studying the growth of fouling layer thickness during filtration of high turbidity influent stream under a constant flux condition. The fouling experiments carried out at a different flux condition showed that at lower flux the fouling is more at the bottom than at the top of the membrane and more heterogeneous, but as the flux increases the cake layer become more and more uniform. Results also showed that the TMP rise was not so severe at low flux due to low and irregular fouling. However, at high flux the TMP increases rapidly and attends a constant value. The average fouling layer thickness increased proportionally with time during the initial period due to quick deposition of particles on the membrane surface and then growth rate of fouling slowed down. The results from this study revealed that thephoto sensor arraycan be applied successfully to a pilot-scale water treatment unit for a real time profiling of fouling layer thickness changes.

Keywords:Photo-interrupt sensor; fouling; online monitoring; membrane bioreactor; water treatment