Effect of chemical and physical factors on the crystallization of calcium sulfate in seawater reverse osmosis brine

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Journal Article
Desalination, 2018, 426 pp. 78 - 87
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. A major challenge of seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination process corresponds to the management of concentrated brine waste because discharging the brine back into the sea influences the marine ecosystem and incurs additional costs to plants. A membrane distillation crystallizer (MDC) can further produce clean water and simultaneously recover valuable resources from the concentrated brine; this is more environmentally and economically optimal. SWRO brine contains salts, which contribute to scaling development during the MDC operation. Hence, the main goals of this study was to observe the crystallization tendency of calcium sulfate (CaSO4) under high salinity and, to examine other inorganic and organic compounds and operational conditions that affect the CaSO4 crystallization. The crystallization tendency of CaSO4 in SWRO brine was examined with respect to different temperatures; changes in pH values; and in the presence of co-existing ions, chemical agents, and organic matters as well as physical factors. The results showed that the size and quantity of crystals formed increased at higher temperatures. Furthermore, an increase in the pH values increased the crystal size. At higher pH, the complexion of NaCl along with CaSO4 was created. Moreover, stirring enhanced CaSO4 crystal formation due to the kinetic mechanism.
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