Relating fouling behavior and cake layer formation of alginic acid to the physiochemical properties of thin film composite and nanocomposite seawater RO membranes

The Vinh Nguyen, MaryTheresa M. Pendergast, Mai Thanh Phong, Xue Jin, Fubing Peng, Marylaura Thomas, Eric M V Hoek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, fouling behavior of alginic acid onto four types of hand-cast and one commercially-available seawater reverse osmosis membranes was investigated. Hand-cast membranes included a polyamide thin film composite and a zeolite-polyamide thin film nanocomposite, as well as poly(vinyl alcohol) coated versions of both. Flux decline due to fouling and the structural features of the fouling layers formed during seawater desalination experiments were analyzed using classic Kozeny-Carman cake filtration theory along with a more recently developed crossflow model. Initial rates of flux decline correlated strongly with membrane permeability and root-mean-squared roughness and moderately with alginate-membrane interfacial free energy. The porosity (i.e., hydraulic resistance) of the fouling layers correlated strongly with deionized water contact angle and moderately with surface area difference of the membranes. The contact angle of the membranes also heavily impacted the fouling layer mass and thickness. Membranes with high permeability, strong alginate-membrane interfacial energy of adhesion, and hydrophobic surfaces had the highest propensity for fouling by low porosity, high specific resistance cake layers. Results indicate that reverse osmosis membranes should be produced with hydrophilic, smooth, and large peak-to-peak surfaces in order to reduce flux decline due to cake layer formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalDesalination
Volume338
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014

Keywords

  • Alginic acid
  • Fouling
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Thin film composite
  • Thin film nanocomposite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering

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