Application of fluorescent particles as a tracer to detect the membrane surface damage in a pilot scale membrane bioreactor

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Kim, Choah;Kim, Hee Jun;Cho, Jinwoo

  • Received : 2016.01.04
  • Accepted : 2016.01.15
  • Published : 2016.02.28


In this study, a fluorescent silica nano particle is used as the surrogate for challenging test of membrane surface integrity. The particles are functionalized by a fluorescent dying agent so that as an ultraviolet light is imposed a bright fluorescent image from the particles can be taken. If a membrane surface is damaged and has a compromised part larger than the size of surrogate the fluorescent particles would pass through and contained in the permeate. An operator can directly notice whether the membrane surface is damaged or not by detecting a fluorescent image taken from the permeate. Additionally, the size of compromised part is estimated through analysing the fluorescent image in which we surmise the mass of particles included in the permeate by calculating an average RGB value of the image. The pilot scale experiments showed that this method could be applied successfully to determine if a membrane surface had a damaged parts regardless of the test condition. In the testing on the actual damaged area of $4.712mm^2$, the lowest error of estimating the damaged area was -1.32% with the surrogate concentration of 80 mg/L, flux of $40L/m^2/hr$ for 25 minutes of detection. A further study is still going on to increase the lowest detection limit and thus decrease the error of estimation.


Estimation error;fluorescent silica nanaoparticle;membrane damage;pilot scale membrane integrity test;tracer


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