Modelling tool to assess membrane regeneration by periodical hydraulic cleaning and fouling control in pressurized membrane process for surface water treatment

  • Amine Charfi
  • Hoseok Jang
  • Jeonghwan KimEmail author
Thematic Issue
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Water Sustainability: A Spectrum of Innovative Technology and Remediation Methods


In this study, a mathematical model was developed to assess fouling as well as membrane regeneration in a pressurized, hollow-fiber membrane system for the treatment of highly turbid surface water using periodical cleaning by backwashing and forward flushing. The model was validated using experimental data of trans-membrane pressure obtained when filtering separately, a SiO2 solution, a mixed SiO2/sodium alginate (SA) solution, a mixed SiO2/bovin serum albumin (BSA) solution and a mixed SiO2/humic acid (HA). Experimental and theoretical studies highlighted the synergistic fouling effect between SiO2 simulating the colloidal particles and the different elements (HA, SA and BSA) simulating the natural organic matter. Protein fouling was mitigated when mixed with SiO2. While the highest fouling rate was obtained for mixed SiO2/SA solution, the majority of this fouling was removed by periodic cleaning. Moreover, mixed SiO2/HA solution showed also high fouling which was mainly irreversible.



Total foulants’ concentration (kg m−3)


Permeate flux (m3 m−2 s−1)


Specific cake resistance kinetic coefficient (–)


Specific cake resistance decrease coefficient (–)


Coefficient of the parameter σ decrease (–)


Specific matter mass attached to membrane (kg m−2)


Specific cake mass (kg m−2)


Specific matter mass detached from membrane (kg m−2)


Membrane intrinsic resistance (m−1)


Cake resistance (m−1)


Trans-membrane pressure (Pa)


Specific cake resistance (m kg−1)


Initial specific cake resistance (m kg−1)


Back-diffusion coefficient (m2 kg−1)


Permeate viscosity (Pa s)


Specific cake mass decrease parameter (–)



This research was a part of the project titled ‘Manpower training program for ocean energy’, funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Korea. This work was supported by the Korea Research Fellowship Program through the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (NRF-2015H1D3A1059895).


  1. Bérubé PR, Lei E (2006) The effect of hydrodynamic conditions and system configurations on the permeate flux in submerged hollow fiber membrane system. J Memb Sci 271:29–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bolton GR, Boesch AW, Lazzara MJ (2006) The effects of flow rate on membrane capacity: development and application of adsorptive membrane fouling models. J Memb Sci 279:625–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chang H, Liu B, Liang H, Yu H, Shao S, Li G (2017) Effect of filtration mode and backwash water on hydraulically irreversible fouling of ultrafiltration membrane. Chemosphere 179:254–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Charfi A, Jang H, Kim J (2017a) Membrane fouling by sodium alginate in high salinity conditions to simulate biofouling during seawater desalination. Biores Technol 240:106–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Charfi A, Aslam M, Lesage G, Heran M, Kim J (2017b) Macroscopic approach to develop fouling model under GAC fluidization in anaerobic fluidized bed membrane bioreactor. J Ind Eng Chem 49:219–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen KL, Mylon SE, Elimelech M (2006) Aggregation kinetics of alginate coated hematite nanoparticles in monovalent and divalent electrolytes. Environ Sci Technol 40:1516–1523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cho J, Amy G, Pellegrino J (2000) Membrane filtration of natural organic matter: factors and mechanisms affecting rejection and flux decline with charged ultrafiltration (UF) membrane. J Memb Sci 164:89–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cho Y, Kim D, Kim J, Jang M, Wachinski AM (2017) Scale-up testing of a novel cleaning method for low-pressure hollow fiber membranes treating high algae surface waters. Environ Eng Sci 34(11):835–843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chu KH, Yoo SS, Yoon Y, Ko KB (2015) Specific investigation of irreversible membrane fouling in excess of critical flux for irreversibility: a pilot-scale operation for water treatment. Sep Purif Technol 151:147–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crozes G, Anselme C, Mallevialle J (1993) Effect of adsorption of organic matter on fouling of ultrafiltration membranes. J Membr Sci 84:61–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gamage NP, Chellam S (2014) Mechanisms of physically irreversible fouling during surface water microfiltration and mitigation by aluminium electroflotation pretreatment. Environ Sci Technol 48:1148–1157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gao W, Liang H, Ma J, Han M, Chen ZL, Han ZS, Li GB (2011) Membrane fouling control in ultrafiltration technology for drinking water production: a review. Desalination 272:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hermia J (1982) Constant pressure blocking filtration laws-application to power law non-newtonian fluids. Trans Inst Chem Eng 60:183–187Google Scholar
  14. Hou L, Gao K, Li P, Zhang X, Wang Z, Song P, Yao W (2017) A kinetic model for calculating total membrane fouling resistance in chemical cleaning process. Chem Eng Res Des 128:59–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Howe KJ, Clark MM (2002) Fouling of microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes by natural waters. Environ Sci Technol 36:3571–3576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jermann D, Pronk W, Meylan S, Boller M (2007) Interplay of different NOM fouling mechanisms during ultrafiltration for drinking water production. Water Res 41:1713–1722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jermann D, Pronk W, Kagi R, Halbeisen M, Boller M (2008) Influence of interactions between NOM and particles on UF fouling mechanisms. Water Res 42:3870–3878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jones KL, O’Melia CR (2001) Ultrafiltration of protein and humic substances: effect of solution chemistry on fouling and flux decline. J Memb Sci 193:163–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kimura K, Hane Y, Watanabe Y, Amy G, Ohkuma N (2004) Irreversible membrane fouling during ultrafiltration of surface water. Water Res 38:3431–3441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lee N, Amy G, Croué JP, Buisson H (2004) Identification and understanding of fouling in low pressure membrane (MF/UF) filtration by natural organic matter (NOM). Water Res 38:4511–4523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lin H, Bérubé PR (2007) Modeling the impact of permeate flux and hydrodynamic conditions on fouling in submerged hollow fiber membranes. Water Sci Technol Water Supp 7(4):111–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liu J, Dong B, Cao B, Zhao D, Wang Z (2016) Microfiltration process for surface water treatment irreversible fouling identification and chemical cleaning. RSC Adv 6:114005–114013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Munla L, Peldszus S, Huck PM (2012) Reversible and irreversible fouling of ultrafiltration ceramic membranes by model solutions. J Am Water Works Ass 104(10):E540–E554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nghiem LD, Oschmann N, Schafer AI (2006) Fouling in greywater recycling by direct ultrafiltration. Desalination 187:283–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Peiris RH, Budman H, Moresoli C, Legge RL (2010) Understanding fouling behavior of ultrafiltration membrane processes and natural water using principal component analysis of fluorescence excitation-emission matrices. J Memb Sci 357:62–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Peiris RH, Jaklewicz M, Budman H, Legge RL, Moresoli C (2013) Assessing the role of feed water constituents in irreversible membrane fouling of pilot-scale ultrafiltration drinking water treatment systems. Water Res 47:3364–3374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Peldszus S, Hallé C, Peiris RH, Hamouda M, Jin X, Legge RL, Budman H, Moresoli C, Huck PM (2011) Reversible and irreversible low-pressure membrane foulants in drinking water treatment: identification by principal component analysis of fluorescence EEM and mitigation by biofiltration pretreatment. Water Res 45:5161–5170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wiesner MR, Chellam S (1999) Peer reviewed: the promise of membrane technology. Environ Sci Technol 33:360A–366ACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Yamamura H, Kimura K, Watanabe Y (2007) Mechanism involved in the evolution of physically irreversible fouling in microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes used for drinking water treatment. Environ Sci Technol 41:6789–6794CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental EngineeringInha UniversityNamguRepublic of Korea

Personalised recommendations