Comparative Performance of ZrO2/PES and Al2O3/PES Membranes
By Nermen N. Maximous, Ph.D., George F. Nakhla, Ph.D., and Wan K. Wan, Ph.D.
The membrane bioreactor (MBR) has been increasingly applied in treatment and reuse of municipal and industrial wastewaters due to the superior performance and significant reductions in membrane costs. However, MBR filtration performance inevitably deteriorates due to membrane fouling which represents a major operational problem that adversely impacts operational costs and tends to diminish the economic viability of MBRs. Membrane fouling in wastewater treatment systems is instigated by biologically mediated processes that produce extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) and soluble microbial products (SMP), which are drastically different from the natural organic matter impacting fouling in water treatment. The interaction between membrane surfaces and solutes plays an important role in determining the extent of membrane fouling. Hydrophobic interaction between solutes or microbial cells and membrane material is frequently accepted as one of the predominant fouling mechanisms (1-3).
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