Mechanism of membrane fouling control by suspended carriers in a submerged membrane bioreactor

Xia Huang*, Chunhai Wei, Kai Chang Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


In an attempt to alleviate membrane fouling, a kind of cylindrical rigid suspended carrier was added in a submerged membrane bioreactor (SMBR) treating synthetic domestic wastewater. Its effect was investigated at different mixed liquor suspended solid (MLSS) concentrations and carrier doses. It was found that the suspended carriers added in the SMBR had two effects on membrane fouling: first was the positive effect by mechanically scouring membrane surface, thereby mitigating cake layer fouling; the second was the negative effect by breaking up sludge flocs that caused an increase in the amount of small particles and supernatant total organic carbon and thus accelerated membrane fouling. The whole effect of suspended carriers on membrane fouling depended on the relative intensity of these two effects. Based on the experimental results of all runs and the inertial lift theory, therefore, it was concluded that there existed an effective carrier dose range for mitigating membrane fouling on the whole. When MLSS concentrations were 5 g/L, 8 g/L, and 11 g/L, then the effective carrier doses (carrier volume vs. total volume) were about less than 4.4%, 7.3%, and 9.5%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-16
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2008


  • Mechanical scouring
  • Membrane fouling
  • Submerged membrane bioreactor
  • Suspended carrier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Filtration and Separation
  • Polymers and Plastics


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