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Publication Title | Hydrodynamic systems for assessing surface fouling, soil

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Biotechnol. Agron. Soc. Environ. 2009 13(3), 427-439

Hydrodynamic systems for assessing surface fouling, soil

adherence and cleaning in laboratory installations

Jean G. Detry, Claude Deroanne, Marianne Sindic

Univ. Liege - Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech. Department of Food Technology. Passage des Déportés, 2. B-5030 Gembloux (Belgium). E-mail:

Received 29 October 2008; accepted 4 March 2009.

Five hydrodynamic systems are presented in this short review: the parallel plate flow cell, the impinging jet, the radial flow cell, the rotating disk and fluid dynamic gauging. These systems are of particular relevance to study surface fouling, surface cleaning or adhesion onto solid surfaces in laboratory environment. The key features of their hydrodynamics are given as well as their practical advantages and drawbacks. Examples of applications fields are also listed.

Keywords. Cleaning, adhesion strength, fouling, wall shear stress, surfaces.

Systèmes hydrodynamiques permettant l’évaluation de l’encrassement des surfaces, de l’adhérence des souillures et de leur nettoyage en laboratoire. Cinq systèmes hydrodynamiques sont présentés dans cette synthèse bibliographique : la cellule à plaques parallèles, le jet impactant, la cellule à flux radial, le disque rotatif et le jaugeage dynamique. Ces systèmes sont particulièrement intéressants pour l’étude de l’encrassement, du nettoyage ou de l’adhésion sur les surfaces solides. Leurs principales propriétés sont données et les principaux avantages et inconvénients pouvant être rencontrés lors de leur mise en œuvre sont présentés. Des exemples de domaines où ces systèmes sont utilisés sont également fournis.

Mots-clés. Nettoyage, force d’adhésion, encrassement, contrainte à la paroi, surfaces.


The ability of a surface to reduce the adhesion of microorganisms (or other contaminants), to inhibit the formation of deposits or to release the adherent deposits and microorganisms is something essential for a wide field of applications like ship hulls, medical implants, dental enamel, pipelines, surgical instruments, buildings, food and pharmaceutical processing, etc. (Changani et al., 1997; Bakker et al., 2003b; Bansal et al., 2006; Liu et al., 2006). Recently, the modification of surfaces or the elaboration of new coatings has been shown to reduce the attachment of bacteria (Zhao et al., 2005a), the formation of scales (Zhao et al., 2005b; Rosmaninho et al., 2006) or the adherence of food deposits (Saikhwan et al., 2006). Furthermore, the modification of surfaces is attracting considerable attention thanks to the advent of affordable tailored coatings and the capability for applying new surface modification technologies to the scale of equipment parts.

Assessing the ability of a surface to reduce adhesion or to release contaminants easily is critical to improve the understanding of adhesion mechanisms,

to identify the critical surface features influencing it or to compare different surfaces in well-controlled conditions. Furthermore, attempts to relate surface engineering to a given application do not always allow real time and in situ observation in spite of the need to consider environmental variables such as flow (Jensen et al., 2004), heat and mass transfer (Rosmaninho et al., 2007a), passage of an air-liquid interface (Gómez Suárez et al., 2001a), presence of chemicals or surfactants (Joscelyne et al., 1997; Morison et al., 2002; Chateau et al., 2004) etc.

Flow chambers and other similar hydrodynamics devices reviewed in this work proved to be valuable tools to take those environmental variables into consideration while allowing easy observation, easy set-up as well as standardization and comparisons between laboratories. Their simple geometry allows the generation of well- controlled, reproducible flow conditions for which the analytical solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations and the convective diffusion equation are often available (Elimelech, 1994). Most of them are also easy to design and can be used as modules to constitute test rigs together with a pump, a heating device, measuring devices, etc. They can also be adapted to various sizes

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