Reverse osmosis membranes fouling by biopolymers in wastewater secondary effluent and membrane cleaning Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2j62s750p

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  • Reverse osmosis (RO) is being increasingly used in treatment of domestic wastewater secondary effluent for potable and non-potable reuse. Among other foulants, dissolved biopolymers, i.e., proteins and polysaccharides, can lead to severe fouling of RO membranes. In this study, the roles of RO membrane surface properties in membrane fouling by two model biopolymers, Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) and sodium alginate, was investigated. Three commercial RO membranes with different surface properties were tested in a laboratory-scale cross-flow RO system. Membrane surface properties considered include surface roughness, zeta potential, and hydrophobicity. The results revealed that surface roughness had the greatest effect on fouling by the biopolymers tested. Accordingly, modified membranes with smoother surfaces showed significantly lower fouling rates. Alginate was found to foul RO membranes much faster than BSA in the presence of Ca2+. Considerable synergistic effect was observed when both BSA and alginate were present. The larger foulant particle sizes measured in the co-existence of BSA and alginate indicate formation of BSA-alginate aggregates, which resulted in greater fouling rate. Faster initial flux decline was observed at higher initial permeate flux even when the flux was measured against accumulative permeate volume, indicating a negative impact of higher operating pressure. The efficiency of different chemical cleaning agents was evaluated. The results demonstrate that sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and ethylenediamine tetracetic acid (EDTA) are effective cleaning chemicals for the fouling conditions tested.
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