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Membrane Processes in

water treatment
Reverse Osmosis: principles, theory and applications
Membrane types and configurations, fouling of membranes
Factors affecting Reverse Osmosis
Electrodialysis: principles and applications
Elements of a typical ED system

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

What is Reverse Osmosis?


A membrane process for desalination by the application of hydrostatic
pressure to drive the feedwater through a semipermeable membrane
while major portion of its impurities are left behind
Product (near atm.
Pressure, low salt
content)

Waste (high pressure,


high salt content)

Operating pressure: 300 400 psi (desalting brackish water)


800 1000 psi (seawater desalination)
CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Principles of Reverse Osmosis

Source: www.peerlesswater.com
CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Water and Salt fluxes


Liquid flux:

Fw = K (P )

Salt flux:

Fs = K (Cb C p )

P = drop in total water pressure across the membrane


= drop in total osmotic pressure across the membrane
Cb, Cp = Salt concentrations on two sides of the membrane
K, k = empirical constants which depend on membrane structure,
its method of manufacture and salt type

If feedwater pressure is increased keeping the solute concentration


constant, the permeate quality is increased.
If feedwater solute concentration is increased at constant
pressure, the permeate quality is decreased.
CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Water Recovery and Salt Rejection


Water recovery is the percentage of feedwater recovered as
product water.
product water flow
100%
Recovery =
feedwater flow

Salt rejection is a measure of the overall amount of salt rejected


in the brine:

product concentration
100%
Rejection = 1
feedwater concentration

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Flux, rejection and recovery relationships

(At constant
Pressure)

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

(At constant
Pressure)

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Osmotic Pressure
Osmotic pressure (psi) = = 1.12(T + 273) mi
Temp (deg. C)

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Summation of molalities of all


ionic and nonionic constituents

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Typical Applications of Reverse Osmosis


i.

Desalination of brackish water (TDS < 10000 mg/L) to provide


potable water

ii. Pretreatment of normal municipal water (TDS 500 1000


mg/L) preceding ion exchange deionization to make ultrapure
water for applications such as boiler feed
iii. Recovery of valuable or reusable materials from a waste via
the RO reject stream
iv. Reduction in the volume of waste, if required
v. Water conservation or recovery such as the cooling tower
blowdown

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Membrane configurations
o
o
o
o

Spiral wound membrane


Tubular membrane
Hollow fine fibre module
Plate and frame membrane

Source: maple.dnr.cornell.edu

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Large-scale setup

Source: pure-aqua.com
CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Type of membranes
Ideal
Membrane
properties

o
o
o
o

Thin, imperfection-free
Water can pass through with little hindrance
Impermeable to ions
Capable of withstanding pressure
Two types

Cellulose Acetate (CA)


o Cheaper, can tolerate Cl2
o Subject to biological attack

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Polyamide membranes
o Subject to degradation by Cl2
or other oxidants
o not susceptible to biological
attack
o Do not hydrolize. Best within
pH 4-11
o Longer life (3-5 years)
Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Factors affecting Reverse Osmosis


1. Type of membrane 2. Molar concentration 3. Feed temp and pH
4. Feedwater pressure 5.Solute rejection
1. Type of membrane:
o Acetyl content, salt rejecAon and Fw
o Cellulose triacetate/ blended diacetate-triacetate membranes
are more resistant to microbiological attack, greater hydrolytic
stability, less compaction and productivity loss

2. Molar Concentration:
Osmotic pressure is proportional to molar concentration at any
temperature
(see Table 10.4)
CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Factors affecting Reverse Osmosis


1. Type of membrane 2. Molar concentration 3. Feed temp and pH
4. Feedwater pressure 5.Solute rejection
3. Feed temperature and pH:
o Fw increases 3% per deg.C
increase in feedwater temp, Fs
does not change significantly
o Temp , hydrolysis rate
o Optimum pH 5 6
o Beyond the optimum range,
hydrolysis rate

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Factors affecting Reverse Osmosis


1. Type of membrane 2. Molar concentration 3. Feed temp and pH
4. Feedwater pressure 5.Solute rejection
4. Feedwater pressure: High pressure feed is desirable
Fw = K (P )
5.
-

Fw (P )

Solute rejection:
Multivalent ion rejection > univalent ion rejection
Undissociated/poorly dissociated rejection < dissociated ions
Acid/base rejection < Salts of those acid/bases
Co-ion rejection (Rejection of Na as Na2SO4 > as NaCl)
Poor rejecAons for low mol. Wt. organic acids
Trace quanAAes of univalent ions

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Membrane Fouling and productivity


Lack of pretreatment of feedwater or adequate cleaning of membrane
can cause membrane fouling and reduced water productivity
Five types of fouling:
1. Membrane scaling
2. Fouling by metal oxides
3. Plugging
4. Colloidal fouling
5. Biological fouling

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Electrodialysis
Electric energy is used to transfer ionized salts from feedwater
through selective membranes, leaving behind purified product water

Source: fumatech.com

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Electrodialysis

- Cation and anionselective membranes


placed alternatively to
form a membrane stack.
- Concentrated and
dilute/pure solutions
collected from the spaces
between alternating
membranes.

CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed

Basic components of an ED unit

Three main elements: (1) Pressurized water supply system,


(2) membrane stack and (3) DC power supply
CE6301: Theory of Water Treatment

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed