Aquatic environment

Characterization of cake layer structure on the microfiltration membrane permeability by iron pre-coagulation

Jin Wang , Siru Pan , Dongping Luo


Received March 12, 2012,Revised August 28, 2012, Accepted , Available online February 02, 2013

Volume ,2013,Pages 308-315

A cake layer is formed by coagulation aggregates under certain transmembrane pressure in the coagulation-microfiltration (MF) process. The characteristics of humic acid aggregates coagulated by different iron-based coagulants, such as charge, size, fractal dimension and compressibility, have an effect on the cake layer structure. At the optimum iron dose of 0.6 to 0.8 mmol/L for ferric chloride (FC) and polymer ferric sulfate (PFS) pre-coagulation, at the point of charge neutralization for near zero zeta potential, the aggregate particles produced possess the greatest size and highest fractal dimension, which contributes to the cake layer being most loose with high porosity and low compressibility. Thus the membrane filterability is better. At a low or high iron dose of FC and PFS, a high negative or positive zeta potential with high charge repulsion results in so many small aggregate particles and low fractal dimension that the cake layer is compact with low porosity and high compressibility. Therefore the membrane fouling is accelerated and MF permeability becomes worse. The variation of cake layer structure as measured by scanning electric microscopy corresponds with the fact that the smaller the coagulation flocs size and fractal dimension are, the lower the porosity and the tighter the cake layer conformation. This also explains the MF membrane flux variation visually and accurately.

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