Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.98, No.8, 1648-1667, 2020
Intermittent ultrasound-assisted ceramic membrane fouling control in ultrafiltration
In this study, remediation of ceramic membrane fouling by an in-line intermittent ultrasound system was investigated. A piezoelectric ultrasonic transducer was integrated into a membrane unit that provided ultrafiltration (UF) of a diluted skim milk solution containing 0.10 wt% of protein. The effects of ultrasound at varied frequencies (20, 28, and 40 kHz) and power intensities (1.44, 2.88, and 5.76 W/cm(2)) under continuous operation and intermittent mode at various intervals (0.50, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 minutes) on membrane fouling were studied. The quality and flow rate of the permeate stream were monitored for the evaluation of the UF process performance. Optimal conditions of continuous ultrasound were found at 28 kHz and 2.88 W/cm(2). Moreover, at optimal ultrasonic conditions, the optimal intermittent time was found at 0.50 minute. At optimal ultrasonic conditions, the permeate amount increased by 79.8% and 94.2% for 0.50 minute intermittent ultrasound and continuous ultrasound, respectively, as compared with that of the UF process without ultrasound. Also, intermittent ultrasound induced better fouling control at a lower protein concentration of 0.05% by weight. The cleaning effect of ultrasound could be attributed to the cavitation bubbles generated by the rarefaction and pressure cycles of the applied ultrasound.
Keywords:ceramic membrane ultrafiltration;cleaning mechanisms;intermittent ultrasound-assisted fouling control