In this paper, results of an experimental and modeling of separation of oil from industrial oily wastewaters (desalter unit effluent of Seraje, Ghom gas wells, Iran) with mullite ceramic membranes are presented. Mullite microfiltration symmetric membranes were synthesized from kaolin clay and α-alumina powder. The results show that the mullite ceramic membrane has a high total organic carbon and chemical oxygen demand rejection (94 and 89%, respectively), a low fouling resistance (30%) and a high final permeation flux (75 L/m2 h). Also, an artificial neural network, a predictive tool for tracking the inputs and outputs of a non-linear problem, is used to model the permeation flux decline during microfiltration of oily wastewater. The aim was to predict the permeation flux as a function of feed temperature, trans-membrane pressure, cross-flow velocity, oil concentration and filtration time, using a feed-forward neural network. Finally the structure of hidden layers and nodes in each layer with minimum error were reported leading to a 4–15 structure which demonstrated good agreement with the experimental measurements with an average error of less than 2%.
Keywords: ceramic membrane, microfiltration, modeling, oily wastewater