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Water Res. 2007 Sep;41(17):3823-32. Epub 2007 May 24.

Natural organic matter fouling of low-pressure, hollow-fiber membranes: Effects of NOM source and hydrodynamic conditions.

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Center for Water and Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Effects of natural organic matter (NOM) source and hydrodynamic conditions on both hydraulically reversible and irreversible fouling of low-pressure, hollow-fiber (LPHF) membranes were systematically investigated using representative sources of natural waters and wastewater effluents. It was found that NOM source plays a primary role in determining the fouling of these membranes. Increase in permeate flux promoted membrane fouling, but to a lesser extent than NOM source. Permeate backwash flux appeared to restore permeability more effectively for the polyether sulfone (PES) membranes than to the polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membranes used. NOM characterization revealed that organic colloids contributed predominantly to the hydraulically reversible fouling, and potentially to the irreversible fouling. Overall, this study demonstrated the importance of NOM source and the presence of organic colloids in the fouling of LPHF membranes, as well as the relevance of hydrodynamic operating conditions on the hydraulic reversibility of the fouling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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