Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology

Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology
Open Access

ISSN: 2157-7048



Fouling and Cleaning Characteristics of Reverse Osmosis (RO) Membranes

Vijay Singh, Arijit Das, Chandan Das, G Pugazhenthi, Mekapati Srinivas and S Senthilmurugan

This work deals with fouling and successive cleaning of RO membrane fouled by an organic foulant, sodium alginate using a laboratory-scale cross flow test unit. First, spiral-wound RO membrane was fouled with sodium alginate solution up to 10% and 15%, respectively at an applied pressure of 1380 kPa with flow rate of 10 lit/min. An anionic surfactant, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) was used as a chemical cleaning agent for cleaning of RO membrane. The effect of cleaning chemical dose and cross-flow velocity on the membrane chemical cleaning duration to achieve 100% cleaning efficiency (i.e., to get original water flux) was also investigated. As the SDS concentration increases, the membrane chemical cleaning time decreases due to increase in the solubility of the foulant (when the surface tension decreases by an increase in the SDS concentration). Furthermore, the membrane chemical cleaning time decreases with increasing cross-flow velocity of the cleaning chemical solution (SDS). Higher cross-flow velocity enhances the turbulence at the fouling layer and hence the mass transfer of the foulant from the fouling layer to the bulk solution is improved, then the SDS has weakened the structural integrity of the fouling layer. It is observed that better cleaning is occurred with higher concentration of SDS and flow rate. The obtained results clearly reveal that SDS cleaning is proved to be an efficient cleaning method for RO membranes fouled with organic foulant.