Assessment of Mass Transfer Coefficients in Coalescing Slug Flow in Vertical Pipes and Applications to Tubular Airlift Membrane Bioreactors
Publikation: Forskning - peer review › Tidsskriftartikel
One of the operational challenges associated with membrane bioreactors (MBRs) is the fouling of the membranes. In tubular side-stream MBRs, fouling reduction can be achieved through controlling the hydrodynamics of the two-phase slug flow near the membrane surface. The two-phase slug flow induces higher shear stresses near the membrane surface, which generate high mass transfer coefficients from the surface to the bulk region. However, measuring the mass transfer coefficient is difficult in complex heterogeneous mixtures like activated sludge and existing techniques (e.g. electrochemical methods) cannot be applied directly. As an alternative, in this work, a multidisciplinary approach was selected, by exploiting dimensionless analysis using the Sherwood number. Mass transfer coefficients were measured at various superficial velocities of gas and liquid flow in a tubular system. Due to the variability of the mass transfer coefficient obtained for each experimental condition, the results were compiled into, mass transfer coefficient histograms (MTH) for analysis. A bimodal MTH was observed, with one peak corresponding to the mass transfer induced by the liquid flow, and the other peak induced by the gas flow. It was noted that coalescence of bubbles affects the MTH. Coalescence increased the “width” of the peaks (i.e. the estimate of the variability of the mass transfer coefficient) and the height of the peak (i.e. amount of time that a mass transfer coefficient of a given value is maintained). A semi-empirical relationship based on the Lévêque relationship for the Sherwood number (mass transfer coefficient) was formulated for the laminar regime. A test case comparison between water and activated sludge was performed based on full-scale airlift MBR operational conditions. It was found that the Sherwood number in the non-Newtonian case is 8% higher than that in the Newtonian case.
- Side-Stream Membrane Bioreactor, Gas-Liquid Slug Flow, Mass Transfer Coefficient, Lévêque Relationship, Non-Newtonian Liquid, Laminar Regime