An intrinsic phenomenon of all membrane separation processes is the decline of the flux through the membrane as a function of time, due to concentration polarization effects and the formation of cake or gel layers by feed solution constituents retained by the membrane. Equally devastating for the performance of a process is membrane fouling. Membrane fouling is a general term. It may be the result of concentration polarization; it may also be the consequence of adsorption of feed solution constituents at the membrane surface and especially in microfiltration also within the membrane structure. The control of concentration polarization and membrane fouling is a major engineering aspect in the design of membrane separation processes and equipment (Brian 1966; Blatt et al. 1970; Jonsson and Boesen 1984; Bian et al. 2000; Hoek and Elimelech 2003; Cornelissen et al. 2004).
Concentration polarization effects will occur in all membrane...
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