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Influence of operating conditions on performance of ceramic membrane used for water treatment

Agnieszka Urbanowska and Małgorzata Kabsch-Korbutowicz

Institute of Environment Protection Engineering, Wroclaw University of Technology, Wybrzeze Wyspianskiego 27, 50-370, Wroclaw, Poland



Abstract: The removal of natural organic matter (NOM) is a critical aspect of potable water treatment because NOM compounds are precursors of harmful disinfection by-products, hence should be removed from water intended for human consumption. Ultrafiltration using ceramic membranes can be a suitable process for removal of natural substances. Previously reported experiments were dedicated to evaluating the suitability of ultrafiltration through ceramic membrane for water treatment with a focus on the separation of natural organic matter. The effects of the membrane operating time and linear flow velocity on transport and separation properties were also examined. The experiments, using a 7-channel 300 kDa MWCO ceramic membrane, were carried out with model solutions and surface water at trans-membrane pressure of 0.2–0.5 MPa. The results revealed that a loose UF ceramic membrane can successfully eliminate natural organic matter from water. The permeability of the membrane was strongly affected by the composition of the feed stream, i.e. the permeate flux decreased with an increase in the NOM concentration. The permeate flux also decreased over the period of the operation, while this parameter did not influence the effectiveness of separation, i.e. the removal of NOM. It was observed that the increased cross-flow velocity resulted in the decrease in the membrane-fouling intensity and slightly improved the retention of contaminants.

Keywords: surface water treatment – natural organic matter – low-pressure membranes – ultrafiltration – ceramic membrane

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-013-0445-2


Chemical Papers 68 (2) 190–196 (2014)

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