Flux enhancement using flow destabilization in capillary membrane ultrafiltration

Botes, Jacobus Petrus (2000-12)

Thesis (MEng.)--University of Stellenbosch, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of the thesis was to investigate the use of flow destabilization methods, combined with permeate backflushing (BIF) or on their own, on flux recovery and maintenance in capillary UF membrane systems under cross-flow (XF) and dead-end (DE) operating conditions. Various hydraulic and mechanical methods have been used to remove the accumulated cake layer and improve steady state process flux. Permeate backflushing (B/F) is the most widely used but the drawbacks are loss of product and extensive down-time. In a pilot plant study for ultrafiltration of surface waters containing high NOM, turbidity and cation loads, the use of flow destabilization, or feed flow reversal (FFR) combined with cross-flow B/F was able to improve the normalised flux by 10.7 ± 3.4 %, compared with 3.2 ± 1.6 % improvement for BIF without FFR. When a second B/F included FFR, the flux improvement was 7.0 ± 2.0 % compared with 4.3 ± 2.5 % for a B/F without FFR. The hypothesis was proposed that the flow destabilization caused slight lifting of the oriented cake layer, while the cross-flow B/F was able to sweep the lifted cake out of the lumen. If the flow destabilization may be effected by a simple but effective and low-cost method, and if this flow destabilization may be combined with reverse flow for short durations, the "lift-and-sweep" approach will be the ideal method of maintaining process flux and increasing membrane life. Such a flow destabilization method, now named "reversepressure pulsing" (RIP), was developed. The method involves circulation of feed water in a recycle loop for 2 s to gain momentum, followed by closure of a fast-action valve upstream of the modules. The momentum of the water in the concentrate loop carries it into an air-filled feed accumulator, while concentrate and reverse-flow permeate (which also lifts the fouling layer) are discharged to the atmosphere using the recycle pump for 15 s. When the valve opens again, the air in the accumulator forces the water under pressure through the membrane lumens, causing a pressure pulse and flow perturbations that lift, shift and break up the fouling layer. During 3 such "lift-and-sweep" events, the cake is lifted and the debris is swept out of the lumen. Experimental results for uninterrupted dead-end filtration at a UF pilot plant using RIP only on a severely fouled membrane, indicated that the RIP increased the flux by 18.4 % and decreased the dP by 8.2 % over a 7.2 h period. The method is effective in removing the cake layer intermittently and no long-term flux decline occurred for a period of 555 h since the previous chemical cleaning.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van die tesis was om die gebruik van vloei-destabiliserings metodes, alleen of gekombineer met permeaat-terugwas, op vloed-herwinning en instandhouding in kapillêre UF membraan-stelsels tydens kruisvloei en doodloop bedryf, te ondersoek. Verskeie meganiese en hidrouliese metodes word gebruik in membraan stelsels om die koeklaag op die membraan se oppervlak te verwyder en die gestadigde-toestand vloed te verbeter. Vanhierdie metodes word permeaat-terugwas die meeste gebruik, maar het sy nadele insluitend verlies van produk en produksietyd. In 'n loodsstudie vir die ultrafiltrasie van oppervlakwaters wat hoë beladings NOM, turbiditeit en katione bevat, is die waarneming gemaak dat kruisvloei terugwas met vloeidestabilisering (voerrigting-verandering) die genormaliseerde vloed met 10.7 ± 3.4 % kon verbeter, vergeleke met 'n 3.2 ± l.6 % verbetering sonder voerrigting-verandering. Vir 'n tweede terugwas was die verbetering 7.0 ± 2.0 % vergeleke met 4.3 ± 2.5 % sonder voerrigtingverandering. Die hipotese was voorgestel dat die vloei-destabilisering die geoiënteerde koeklaag van die oppervlak gelig het, en die kruisvloei terugwas die geligde koeklaag uit die lumen kon vee. Indien hierdie vloei-destabilisering bewerk kan word deur 'n eenvoudige maar effektiewe manier, en indien dit gekombineer kan word met terugvloei van produk vir kort tydperke, sal hierdie "lig-en-vee" benadering die ideale metode wees om die membrane se vloed te verbeter en leeftyd te verleng. So 'n vloei-destabiliseringsmetode, nou genoem "terugdruk-pulsering", is ontwikkel. Die metode behels die sirkuiering van voer-water vir 2 s in 'n hersirkulasielus om momentum op te bou, gevolg deur die toemaak van 'n snel-aksie klep stroom-op van die modules. Die water in die konsentraat-lus se momentum dra dit vorentoe tot in In lug-gevulde voer-akkumulator, terwyl konsentraat en terug-vloei permeaat (wat ook tot 'n mate die koeklaag lig) ook na die atmosfeer gewend word vir 15 s deur die hersirkulasiepomp. As die klep weer oopgaan, ontspan die lug in die akkumulator, en forseer die water daarin onder druk deur die membraan-lumens. Die druk-puls en vloei-perturbasies lig, skuif en breek die koeklaag op. Tydens 3 agtereenvolgende "lig-en-vee" aksies word die koeklaag effektief opgebreek en uit die lumen gevee. Eksperimentele uitslae vir ononderbroke doodloop bedryf op uitermate aangevuilde membrane van 'n ultrafiltrasie loodsaanleg toegerus met terugdruk-pulsering, het getoon dat die vloed met 18.4 % verbeter kon word en die dP met 8.2 % verminder kon word in slegs 7.2 h. Die metode breek die koeklaag effektief op, en geen langtermyn vloed-afname is waargeneem vir meer as 555 h sedert die vorige chemiese was-prosedure nie.

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