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Influence of surface roughness on the initial formation of biofilm

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yasmine Ammar, Dr David Swailes, Professor Ben BridgensORCiD, Dr Jinju Chen



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Surface roughness is an important factor affecting cellular attachment to surfaces prior to biofilm formation. The presence of nanoscale asperities reduces the physicochemical potential barrier encountered by a bacterial cell when it approaches the surface. This work studies the initial bacterial deposition prior to biofilm formation for wastewater treatment. The objective of this work is to model how surface roughness of the substrate and appendages of the bacteria affect bacterial adhesion. In this study, bacteria are treated as inert particles that attach to surfaces according to the extended Derjaguin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek (DLVO) theory. Surface roughness is modelled by reconstructing the surface topography using statistical parameters derived from Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) roughness analyses. The model is validated by comparing deposition measured in a parallel flow chamber to the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) results for different ionic strengths. Based on CFD simulations, the relationship between the deposition rate and the nanoscale surface roughness has been established. These findings can be used to guide the surface design of bed materials in wastewater treatment plants to control deposition.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ammar Y, Swailes DC, Bridgens BN, Chen J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Surface and Coatings Technology

Year: 2015

Volume: 284

Pages: 410-416

Print publication date: 25/12/2015

Online publication date: 31/07/2015

Acceptance date: 16/07/2015

Date deposited: 19/01/2016

ISSN (print): 0257-8972

ISSN (electronic): 1879-3347

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2015.07.062

Notes: Originally given at 42nd International Conference on Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films


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Funder referenceFunder name
EP/K039083/1Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council