The role of foulant-foulant electrostatic interaction on limiting flux for RO and NF membranes during humic acid fouling-Theoretical basis, experimental evidence, and AFM interaction force measurement
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- The role of foulant-foulant electrostatic interaction on limiting flux for RO and NF membranes during humic acid fouling-Theoretical basis, experimental evidence, and AFM interaction force measurement
- Tang, Chuyang Y.; Kwon, Young-Nam; Leckie, James O.
- Issue Date
- ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
- JOURNAL OF MEMBRANE SCIENCE, v.326, no.2, pp.526 - 532
- A limiting flux model has been recently developed for predicting the fouling behavior of reverse osmosis and nanofiltration membranes by organic macromolecules [C.Y. Tang, J.O. Leckie, Membrane independent limiting flux for RO and NF membranes fouled by humic acid, Environmental Science and Technology 41 (2007) 4767-4773]. Several interesting results have been observed: (a) there was a maximum pseudostable flux (the limiting flux) beyond which further increase in applied pressure did not translate to a greater stable flux; (b) all membrane samples attained the limiting flux under constant pressure conditions as long as their initial flux was greater than the limiting flux; (c) the limiting flux did not depend on the properties of membranes; (d) the limiting flux had strong dependence on the feedwater composition, such as pH, ionic strength, and divalent ion concentration. The current study investigates the dependence of limiting flux on intermolecular interaction between foulant molecules. It was observed that the limiting flux was directly proportional to the intermolecular electrostatic repulsive force and that conditions enhancing foulant-deposited-foulant repulsion resulted in greater limiting flux values. Such observations agree well with a theoretical model capturing both hydrodynamic and DLVO interactions. Interaction force measurements by atomic force microscopy (AFM) were also performed. The limiting flux correlated reasonably well with AFM interaction force between the model foulant and the fouled membrane surface.
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