Factors affecting the rejection of organic solutes during NF/RO treatment - A literature review

  • Bellona C
  • Drewes J
  • Xu P
 et al. 
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The incomplete rejection of certain pesticides, disinfection by-products, endocrine disrupting compounds, and pharmaceutically active compounds has been reported during full- and pilot-scale high-pressure membrane applications. Since the removal of these compounds in water and wastewater treatment applications is of great importance where a high product water quality is desired, an understanding of the factors affecting the permeation of solutes in high-pressure membrane systems is needed. In this paper, findings of a comprehensive literature review are reported, targeting membrane rejection mechanisms and factors affecting rejection. The following key solute parameters were identified to primarily affect solute rejection: molecular weight (MW), molecular size (length and width), acid disassociation constant (pKa), hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity (logKow), and diffusion coefficient (Dp). Key membrane properties affecting rejection that were identified include molecular weight cut-off, pore size, surface charge (measured as zeta potential), hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity (measured as contact angle), and surface morphology (measured as roughness). In addition, feed water composition, such as pH, ionic strength, hardness, and the presence of organic matter, was also identified as having an influence on solute rejection. From the knowledge gained during the literature review, a rejection diagram was proposed, which qualitatively allows prediction of solute rejection if certain solute and membrane properties are known. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Indirect potable reuse
  • Membrane processes
  • Nanofiltration
  • Organic trace pollutants
  • Rejection
  • Reverse osmosis

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