Concentrating underground brine by FO process: Influence of membrane types and spacer on membrane scaling

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Chemical Engineering Journal, 2016, 285 pp. 92 - 100
Issue Date:
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© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Forward osmosis (FO) is a low energy process when recovery of the draw solutes is not necessary. This study focused on the performance of the FO process for concentrating underground brine (UGB) with saturated sodium chloride as draw solution (DS) using two membranes: commercialized flat sheet cellulose triacetate (CTA) membrane and tailor-made thin film composite (TFC) FO membrane. Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and powder X-ray diffractometry (XRD) analysis indicate that, majority of the scaling components were calcium sulfate and sodium chloride crystals formed both through surface and bulk crystallization. The spacer in the FO test cell also promoted scaling. Without spacer, a sharp flux decline of TFC membrane occurred at a higher concentration factor while no sharp flux drop was observed for CTA membrane. It was hypothesized that the rough TFC membrane surface may initiate nucleation and aggregation of the crystals in the active surface, and eventually resulting in scaling.
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