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Chemical cleaning of potable microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes

By Nicandro Porcelli


Concerns over possible waterborne disease forced drinking water supply companies in England and Wales to adopt microfiltration and ultrafiltration technologies rapidly. MF and UF membrane plants are designed to produce water of a consistent quality regardless of throughput and fluctuations in the feedwater quality. To operate well they need to maintain flux and balance the rate of fouling, and chemical cleaning performance is critical to this. Giant steps have been taken into characterizing the foulants scientifically in the last few years while cleaning is reactive and ad hoc. This thesis explores the basis for a corresponding cleaning science for the technology to develop quantitively. Cleaning performance was defined in terms of a response to combinations of explanatory variables in a materials limited cleaning envelope. The study focused on applying variations of cleanant concentration, applied temperature and soak times to a variety of membranes fouled with different waters and regimes. An experimental design was developed and applied consistently to a number of different sampled sites; allowing an optimised recovery from the polynomial expressions for each treatment, through factorial analysis of the data. The size and variety of the data set analysed allowed comparison and quantification of the different deviations from optimal cleaning response. This effect was seen to vary temporally and with operating regime and the methods usefulness as a practical tool in the membrane plant lifecycle was considered. Cost evaluation of the variation in cleaning response showed that sub-optimal cleaning costs and energy use may be significant and the thesis also illustrated how module geometry affects initial cake deposition and thus cleanability. By demonstrating the potential for cleaning factor analysis, the potential for a combined heuristic and predictive cleaning control science is possible, but will need new strategies to manage technology change

Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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