IWA Publishing

Validation of computational non-Newtonian fluid model for membrane bioreactor


Courtesy of IWA Publishing

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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