Membrane processes often experience a decline in the permeate flux or an increase in the operating pressure from membrane fouling. A mathematical model that describes the fouling of inside-out hollow fiber ultrafiltration (UF) membranes was derived from hydrodynamic equations coupled with the theory of depth filtration. The correlation predictions obtained in this study are simpler, as the effect of membrane characteristics, water recovery, and membrane washing processes on UF membrane fouling were expressed using a single parameter: the membrane blocking coefficient. Membrane filtration tests were conducted using diluted paper industry sewage in a constant-pressure and constant-current operational mode. The effects of different operating conditions, such as water recovery and cleaning methods, and membrane characteristics on the membrane blocking coefficient were evaluated. The predictive capability of the proposed model was excellent according to a comparison of the experimental results and model simulations.
- hollow fiber membrane
- mathematical model
- membrane fouling
- First received 11 December 2015.
- Accepted in revised form 9 August 2016.
- © IWA Publishing 2016