Colloidal Fouling of Reverse Osmosis Membranes

by Menachem Elimelech, Univ of California, Los Angels, United States,
Xiaohua Zhu, Univ of California, Los Angels, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Critical Issues in Water and Wastewater Treatment

Abstract: Experiments on the fouling of thin film composite and cellulose acetate reverse osmosis membranes by aluminum oxide colloids are reported. Fouling was significant at high ionic strengths, resulting in reduced water flux and salt rejection. Under the chemical conditions tested, colloidal fouling was found to be reversible, thus providing an indirect evidence that pore blockage is not an important mechanism in colloidal fouling of reverse osmosis membranes. A qualitative model for colloidal fouling of reverse osmosis membranes is proposed.

Subject Headings: Colloids | Fouling | Osmosis | Membranes | Salt water | Composite materials | Acetate | Mathematical models

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