Stable barium sulphate supersaturation in reverse osmosis

Śiobhàn F.E. Boerlage, Maria D. Kennedy, Ingrida Bremere, Geert Jan Witkamp, Jan Peter Van Der Hoek, Jan C. Schippers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


A RO pilot plant operated without antiscalant addition at 85% recovery with no scaling, although the concentrates were significantly supersaturated with barium sulphate. Stable supersaturation may be due to slow precipitation kinetics which may be retarded or enhanced by organic matter present in RO concentrate. BaSO4 precipitation kinetics; crystal nucleation, measured as induction time, and growth were investigated in batch experiments in RO concentrate and in synthetic concentrate containing (i) no organic matter and (ii) commercial humic acid. Supersaturation appeared to control induction time. Induction time decreased more than 36 times with a recovery increase from 80 to 90%, corresponding to a supersaturation of 3.1 and 4.9, respectively. Organic matter in 90% RO concentrate did not prolong induction time (5.5 h). Whereas, commercial humic acid extended induction time in 90% synthetic concentrate to >200 h. This was most likely due to growth inhibition as growth rates determined by seeded growth were reduced by a factor six. In comparison, growth rates were retarded only 2.5 times by organic matter in RO concentrate. However, growth rates measured for 80 and 90% RO concentrate were significant and not likely to limit BaSO4 scaling. Results indicate that the nucleation rate expressed as induction time is governing the occurrence of scaling. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-68
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 15 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • BET, Brunauer Emmet Teller model
  • DOC, dissolved organic carbon
  • LSI, Langelier saturation index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


Dive into the research topics of 'Stable barium sulphate supersaturation in reverse osmosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this