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Investigating reverse osmosis membrane fouling and scaling by membrane autopsy of a bench scale device

Investigating reverse osmosis membrane fouling and scaling by membrane autopsy of a bench scale device

García-Triñanes, Pablo ORCID: 0000-0002-4993-2250, Chairopoulou, Makrina A. and Campos, Luiza C. (2021) Investigating reverse osmosis membrane fouling and scaling by membrane autopsy of a bench scale device. Environmental Technology. ISSN 0959-3330 (Print), 1479-487X (Online) (In Press) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/09593330.2021.1918262)

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Abstract

In response to the escalating world water demand and aiming to promote equal opportunities, reverse osmosis desalination has been widely implemented. Desalination is however constantly subjected to fouling and scaling which increase the cost of desalination by increasing the differential pressure of the membrane and through decline in permeate flux. A bench-scale desalination equipment has been used in this research to investigate the mitigation of fouling and scaling. This study also involved the performance of membrane autopsy for fouling characterisation with special attention to flux decline due to sulphate precipitation and biofouling. Visual inspection, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and microbiology tests (API) were performed. Results obtained showed the presence of diatoms, pseudomonas and polysaccharides as the main foulants causing biofouling. Analysis revealed sulphate deposits as well as aluminium, calcium and silica as the main elements contributing to inorganic scaling. Findings pointed out that the pre-treatment system of the small-scale reverse osmosis water treatment was inefficient and that selection of pre-treatment chemicals should be based on its compatibility with the membrane structure. The importance of characterization for the verification of fouling mechanisms is emphasized.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Desalination; Brackish water; Biofouling; microscopy
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > School of Engineering (ENN)
Last Modified: 05 May 2021 20:42
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/32199

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