IWA Publishing

Validation of computational non-Newtonian fluid model for membrane bioreactor


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Membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems are often considered as the wastewater treatment method of the future due to their high effluent quality. One of the main problems with such systems is a relative large energy consumption, compared to conventional activated sludge (CAS) systems, which has led to further research in this specific area. A powerful tool for optimizing MBR-systems is computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling, which gives researchers the ability to describe the flow in the systems. A parameter which is often neglected in such models is the non-Newtonian properties of active sludge, which is of great importance for MBR systems since they operate at sludge concentrations up to a factor of 10 compared to CAS systems, resulting in strongly shear thinning liquids. A CFD-model is validated against measurements conducted in a system with rotating cross-flow membranes submerged in non-Newtonian liquids, where tangential velocities are measured with a Laser Doppler Anemometer (LDA). The CFD model is found to be capable of modelling the correct velocities in a range of setups, making CFD models a powerful tool for optimization of MBR systems.

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