Humic acid fouling during microfiltration

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A major factor limiting the use of microfiltration for surface water treatment is membrane fouling by natural organic matter. The extent and mechanisms of humic acid fouling during microfiltration have been examined using stirred cell filtration experiments and scanning electron microscopy. The extent of fouling was strongly dependent on both the source and preparation of the humic acid solutions. The large flux decline observed during constant pressure microfiltration was caused by the formation of a humic acid deposit located on the upper surface of the membrane. Prefiltration of the humic acid solutions dramatically reduced the rate of fouling through the removal of large humic acid aggregates. The initial fouling in this system was determined almost entirely by the convective deposition of these large particles/aggregates on the membrane surface. This initial deposit accelerated the subsequent rate of humic acid fouling, possibly serving as a nucleation site for deposition of macromolecular humic acids. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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