Impact of natural organic matter on floc size and structure effects in membrane filtration

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Hematite (10 mg of Fe/L) floc-humic acid assemblages have been formed at pH 4 either by first aggregating hematite particles with salt (100 mM KCI) and then adding humic acid (salt-particle-organic or SPO assemblages) or by suspending the hematite particles in humic acid solutions and then adding salt to induce aggregation (organic-particle-salt or OPS assemblages). The behavior of these assemblages upon deposition on microfiltration (MF) membranes has then been investigated. In the OPS case, the fractal dimension (dF) of the assemblages formed varied dramatically depending upon the extent of charge neutralization by added fulvic acid with dF values typical of diffusion-limited cluster aggregates at low (0.1-0.2 mg/L) humic acid concentrations and dF values typical of reaction-limited cluster aggregates either in the absence of humic acid or concentrations greater than 0.4-0.6 mg/L. In the SPO case, dF values on the order of 2.1 were initially observed and were found to decrease to around 1.8-1.9 for humic acid concentrations greater than 0.6-0.8 mg/L. OPS assemblages with low fractal dimensions were found to be highly compressible once deposited on MF membranes with significantly higher specific cake resistances than was the case for SPO assemblages at transmembrane pressures of 50 kPa and above. These results highlight the importance of both the choice of coagulant (e.g., preformed vs formed in situ) and the transmembrane pressure to which a membrane filtration process might be allowed to rise prior to removal of the fouling layer.
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Lee, Sang
Fane, Anthony
Waite, David
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Journal Article
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UNSW Faculty