Removal of humic substances (HS) from water by electro-microfiltration (EMF).

Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan, ROC.
Water Research (Impact Factor: 4.66). 06/2006; 40(9):1783-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2006.02.028
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Humic substances (HS) represent the common agents contributing to flux decline during membrane filtration of natural water. In order to minimize the fouling during microfiltration (MF) of HS, modifying the operation of MF presents a promising alternative. A laboratory-scale electro-microfiltration (EMF) module was used to separate Aldrich HS from water by applying a voltage across the membrane. The presence of an electric field significantly reduced the flux decline. A flux comparable to that of ion-free water was attained when the voltage was near the critical electric field strength (Ecritical), i.e., the electrical field gradient that balances the advective and electrophoretic velocities of solute. At an applied voltage of 100 V (approximately 110 V/cm), it was able to reduce UV absorbance at 254 nm (UV254), total organic carbon (TOC) and trihalomethane formation potential (THMFP) by over 50% in the permeate. Results from 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) analysis suggest that the aromatic and functionalized aliphatic fractions decreased significantly in the permeate. The charged HS have large molecule weight compared with those passing through membrane. Results clearly indicate that a combination of electric force with MF can increase HS rejection and decrease flux decline. Electrophoretic attraction was the major mechanism for the improvement of flux and rejection over time.

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