Foulant analysis of a reverse osmosis membrane used pretreated seawater

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Journal Article
Journal of Membrane Science, 2013, 428 pp. 434 - 444
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This study focused on the characterization of organic and biological foulants on reverse osmosis (RO) membrane and fouled RO membrane characterization with seawater pretreated by submerged membrane hybrid systems (SMHSs). New low pressure membrane based pretreatments namely submerged membrane coagulation hybrid system (SMCHS) and submerged membrane coagulation-adsorption hybrid system (SMCAHS) were investigated. Organic foulants on RO membrane were characterized in terms of molecular weight distribution (MWD), fluorescence and extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) analyses. The organic foulants were mainly composed of high molecular weight matters representing biopolymers in the foulants. The fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (F-EEM) analysis showed that protein-like materials were dominant with samples pretreated by SMHSs. Humic-like materials which have lower aromaticity were also present in the foulant. Biological foulants were investigated in terms of total direct cell (TDC) count, cell viability and biomass activity (adenosine tri-phosphate; ATP). Biological fouling was found to be reduced by organic removal with SMHSs. The fouled membranes were characterized using environmental scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy, attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared spectrometry, zeta-potential measurement, atomic force microscopy, and contact angle measurement. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
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