This study investigates three types of organic matter, namely algal organic matter (AOM), bacterial organic matter (BOM), and humic organic matter (HOM). These organics are different in properties and chemical composition. AOM, BOM and HOM were compared in terms of organic content, fouling behavior, and removal efficiency in ceramic UF filtration. UF experiments were conducted at a constant flux mode using 5 kDa and 50 kDa ceramic membranes. Results showed that 5 kDa membrane removed more transparent exopolymer particles (TEP)/organics than 50 kDa membranes, but less fouling formation for all the three types of organic matters tested. Membranes exhibited the lowest trans-membrane pressure (TMP) during the filtration of HOM, most probably due to the high porosity of the HOM cake layer, contributed by big HOM aggregates under Ca bridging effect. AOM shows the highest MFI-UF (modified fouling index-ultrafiltration) and TMP (transmembrane pressure) values among the three organics and during all filtration cycles for both membranes. The AOM fouling layer is well known for having high fouling potential due to its compressibility and compactness which increase the TMP and eventually the MFI values. AOM and BOM organics exhibited a similar fouling behavior and mechanism. Furthermore, the divalent cations such as calcium showed a significant impact on membrane fouling. That is probably because calcium ions made the membranes and organic matter less negatively charged and easier to deposit on membranes, thus, enhancing the membrane fouling significantly.
- ceramic UF membrane
- seawater desalination
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Filtration and Separation