American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Modeling of Activated Sludge Floc Characteristics

Ibrahim H. Mustafa, G. Ibrahim, Ali Elkamel and A. H. Elahwany

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2009.69.79

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 5, Issue 1

Pages 69-79


Problem Statement: The activated sludge system needs to improve the operational performance and to achieve more effective control. To realize this, a better quantitative understanding of the biofloc characteristics is required. The objectives of this study were to: (i) Study the biofloc characteristics from kinetics-mass transfer interaction point of view by quantification of the weight of the aerobic portion of the activated sludge floc to the total floc weight. (ii) Study the effect of bulk concentrations of oxygen and nitrates, power input and substrates diffusivity on the portion aerobic portion of the floc. Approach: An appropriate mathematical model based on heterogeneous modeling is developed for activated sludge flocs. The model was taking into account three growth processes: Carbon oxidation, nitrification and de-nitrification in terms of four components: substrate, nitrate, ammonia, and oxygen. The model accounts for the internal and external mass transfer limitations and relates the external mass transfer resistance with power input. The floc model equations were two- point boundary value differential equations. Therefore a central finite difference method is employed. Results: The percentage aerobic portion increased with increasing with oxygen bulk concentrations and power input and decreases when the bulk concentration of ammonia and substrate increases. Both will compete to consume the internal oxygen by autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria through aerobic growth processes. The biofloc activity through the profiles was either totally active or partially active. The totally active biofloc is either totally aerobic or aerobic and anoxic together. Conclusions: The heterogeneous floc model was able to describe the biofloc characteristics and reflects the real phenomena existing in the activated sludge processes.


© 2009 Ibrahim H. Mustafa, G. Ibrahim, Ali Elkamel and A. H. Elahwany. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.