A pore-scale model for permeable biofilm: Numerical simulations and laboratory experiments
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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In this paper, we derive a pore-scale model for permeable biofilm formation in a two-dimensional pore. The pore is divided into two phases: water and biofilm. The biofilm is assumed to consist of four components: water, extracellular polymeric substance (EPS), active bacteria, and dead bacteria. The flow of water is modeled by the Stokes equation, whereas a diffusion–convection equation is involved for the transport of nutrients. At the biofilm–water interface, nutrient transport and shear forces due to the water flux are considered. In the biofilm, the Brinkman equation for the water flow, transport of nutrients due to diffusion and convection, displacement of the biofilm components due to reproduction/death of bacteria, and production of EPS are considered. A segregated finite element algorithm is used to solve the mathematical equations. Numerical simulations are performed based on experimentally determined parameters. The stress coefficient is fitted to the experimental data. To identify the critical model parameters, a sensitivity analysis is performed. The Sobol sensitivity indices of the input parameters are computed based on uniform perturbation by ± 10% of the nominal parameter values. The sensitivity analysis confirms that the variability or uncertainty in none of the parameters should be neglected.