BIOMATH is proud to announce that Wouter Naessens successfully defended his Doctoral Thesis. After defending his master thesis at the group, he studied membrane bioreactor modelling and activated sludge viscosity as a scientific researcher. One year later, he became a teaching assistant and started his PhD on the mechanistic modelling of membrane fouling processes. He performed this work under the supervision of prof. Ingmar Nopens and prof. Jan Baetens.
Title: Towards improved membrane fouling modelling - from an empirical to a spatially explicit framework
Abstract: Membranes are used in many kinds of filtration processes, such as blood plasma separation, beer production or wastewater treatment. The deposition of particles on the membrane surface into a so called cake layer inherently counteracts the process and reduces the energy efficiency. This phenomenon is not fully understood, and this thesis aims to increase the knowledge on how cake layer formation takes place on a microscopic level using mathematical models. It is illustrated how a data-driven model can assist in monitoring the status of such installations. Furthermore is a new methodology introduced, using microscopic imaging and image processing to measure cake layer formation under different conditions. Next, a detailed mathematical model to describe every particle in the fluid is constructed and illustrated. Also it is shown how simulating the fluid flow inside these installations helps understanding their behavior. Simulating a membrane with helical ridge reveals the physical principles of why it works better than a version without internal helix.