Influence of colloidal fouling on pressure retarded osmosis

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Desalination, 2016, 389 pp. 207 - 214
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Elsevier B.V. In this study, colloidal fouling behavior in pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) was systematically investigated in terms of the effects of draw solution concentration, applied hydraulic pressure at the draw side, feed solution pH, and particle size. Commercially-available cellulose triacetate (CTA) membranes were fouled with feed solution containing silica colloidal particles. Two different silica particles with mean diameter of 27 and 152 nm were used as model foulants. Our findings demonstrated that the colloidal fouling in PRO was dominantly affected by the cake layer buildup at the membrane surface. Fouling was further exacerbated by diffused salts from the draw side because retained salts within the cake layer elevated the salt concentration on the membrane surface, and consequently reduced the driving force of PRO. Substantial flux decline with the smaller particles was attributed to the high cake layer resistance due to the formation of the void-less cake layer. In addition, our approaches to mitigate the colloidal fouling revealed that the hydraulic cleaning by increasing the cross-flow rates was not effective to eliminate the compact cake layer. However, adjusting the feed solution pH showed the high potential to relieve the colloidal fouling resulting from the more stabilization of particles at low solution pH.
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