Quantifying charge effects on fouling layer strength and (ir)removability during cross-flow microfiltration
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2021
Fouling of membranes is still an important limiting factor in the application of membrane technology. Therefore, there is still a need for an in-depth understanding of which parameters affect the (ir)removability of fouling layers, as well as the mechanisms behind fouling. In this study, fluid dynamic gauging (FDG) was used to investigate the influence of charge effects between negatively charged foulant particles and cations on cake cohesive strength. Fouling cakes’ thicknesses and cohesive strengths were estimated during membrane operations, where microfiltration (MF) membranes were fouled in a feed-and-bleed cross-flow filtration system with low and highly negatively charged polystyrene-polyacrylic acid core-shell particles. In addition, an added procedure to determine the irremovability of cakes using FDG was also proposed. Comparing layers formed in the presence and absence of calcium ions revealed that layers formed without calcium ions had significantly lower cohesive strength than layers formed in the presence of calcium ions, which is explained by the bridging effect between negatively charged particles and calcium ions. Results also confirmed more cohesive cakes formed by high negative charge particles in the presence of calcium compared to lower negative charge particles. Hence, it was demonstrated that FDG can be used to assess the cohesive strength ((ir)removability) of cake layers, and to study how cake cohesive strength depends on foulant surface charge and ionic composition of the solution.