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Membrane Water Treatment
  Volume 3, Number 3, July 2012 , pages 141-149

Effects of membrane orientation on permeate flux performance in a submerged membrane bioreactor
Tsun Ho Lee and Stephanie Young

    The aeration provided in a Submerged Membrane Bioreactor (SMBR) improves membrane filtration by creating turbulence on the membrane surface and reducing membrane resistance. However, conventional hollow fiber membrane modules are generally packed in a vertical orientation which limits membrane scouring efficiency, especially when aeration is provided in the axial direction. In the present research, 3 innovative hollow-fiber membrane modules, each with a different membrane orientation, were developed to improve membrane scouring efficiency and enhance permeate flux. Pilot testing was performed to investigate the permeate flux versus time relationship over a 7-day period under different intermittent modes. The results indicated that the best module experienced an overall permeate flux decline of 3.3% after 7 days; the other two modules declined by 13.3% and 18.3%. The lower percentage of permeate flux decline indicated that permeate productivity could be sustained for a longer period of time. As a result, the operational costs associated with membrane cleaning and membrane replacement could be reduced over the lifespan of the module.
Key Words
    hollow fiber membrane; membrane orientation; permeate flux; membrane fouling; submerged membrane bioreactor; membrane replacement, operation, and maintenance; commercialization; membrane technology
Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Regina, Regina, Canada

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