In wastewater treatment, the membrane functions as a semipermeable barrier that restricts transport of undesired particulates. A major problem related to membrane filtration processes is fouling of membranes by colloidal particles, organic matter, and biomaterials. Among the various types of fouling, biofouling is one of the most severe, as it is a dynamic process. Even a few surviving cells that adhere to the membrane surface multiply exponentially at the expense of biodegradable substances in the feed solution. To analyze the mechanism of biofouling, membrane cell is typically considered as a black-box, where only the input and the output can be measured and put into use for analysis. Microfluidic devices are being used to study and understand the nature, properties, and evolution of biofouling. A primary advantage of a microfluidic membrane is the ability to conduct real-time observations of biofilm. This chapter presents an overview of the biofouling in membrane processes and different fabrication technique of microfluidic membrane systems.
Part of the book: Microfluidics and Nanofluidics