Membrane fouling reduction through electrochemically regulating flocs aggregation in an electro-coagulation membrane reactor

Kai Zhao , Jingqiu Sun , Chengzhi Hu , Jiuhui Qu


Received November 28, 2018,Revised , Accepted April 01, 2019, Available online April 08, 2019

Volume 31,2019,Pages 144-151

Coupling coagulation and applied electric field is an efficient method to regulate cake layer porosity and hydrophilicity for alleviating ultrafiltration membrane (UF) fouling. However, the Al/Fe flocs aggregation behavior are induced from electric field and determine the cake layer structure, which has not been studied comparatively yet. Herein, the anti-fouling performance in an efficient electro-coagulation membrane reactor (ECMR, in which UF membrane modules are placed between electrodes) was investigated with Al/Fe anode and various electrochemical parameters from the viewpoint of regulating flocs aggregation. Both the cake layers formed from Al and Fe flocs under an electric field were more porous and hydrophilic in comparison with that formed without electric fields, resulting in an enhanced water flux under higher electric field strength. Comparing with Fe flocs, Al flocs had a faster growth rate and larger size, facilitating membrane pore block resistant, which was more pronounced in a higher current density. Furthermore, the cake layer formed from Al flocs was more porous than that formed from Fe flocs. Therefore, the anti-fouling performance of ECMR with Al anode was superior to that of ECMR with Fe anode. When the electric field strength increased from 0 to 10 V/cm, the normalized specific flux was improved from 71.2% to 89.4% for ECMR (Al) and from 48.1% to 70.1% for ECMR (Fe) at 30 min.

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