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Membrane Water Treatment
  Volume 11, Number 2, March 2020 , pages 097-109

Thermo-responsive antifouling study of commercial PolyCera® membranes for POME treatment
Teow Yeit Haan, Loh Wei Chean and Abdul Wahab Mohammad

    Membrane fouling is the main drawback of membrane technology. Frequent membrane cleaning and membrane replacement are, therefore, required to reduce membrane fouling that causes permeate flux reduction, lower rejection, or higher operating pressure. Studies have proved that the alteration of membrane properties is the key controlling factor in lessening membrane fouling. Among stimuli-responsive membranes, thermo-responsive membrane is the most popular, with a drastic phase transition and swelling-shrinking behavior caused by the temperature change. In this study, the thermo-responsive ability of two commercial membranes, PolyCera® Titan membrane and PolyCera® Hydro membrane, at different temperatures was studied on the antifouling function of the membrane in palm oil mill effluent (POME) treatment. The evaluation of the membrane's thermo-responsive ability was done through three cycles of adsorption (fouling) and desorption (defouling) processes in a membrane filtration process. The experimental result depicted that PolyCera® Hydro membrane had a higher membrane permeability of 67.869 L/m² than PolyCera® Titan membrane at 46.011 L/m² However, the high membrane permeability of PolyCera® Hydro membrane was compensated with low removal efficiency. PolyCera® Titan membrane with a smaller mean pore size had better rejection performance than PolyCera® Hydro membrane for all tested parameters. On the other hand, PolyCera® Titan membrane had a better hydrodynamic cleaning efficiency than PolyCera® Hydro membrane regardless of the hydrodynamic cleaning temperature. The best hydrodynamic cleaning performed by PolyCera® Titan membrane was at 35°C with the flux recovery ratio (FRR) of 99.17 ± 1.43%. The excellent thermo-responsive properties of the PolyCera® Titan membrane could eventually reduce the frequency of membrane replacement and lessen the use of chemicals for membrane cleaning. This outstanding exploration helps to provide a solution to the chemical industry and membrane technology bottleneck, which is the membrane fouling, thus reducing the operating cost incurred by the membrane fouling.
Key Words
    fouling; thermo-responsive; PolyCera®membrane; antifouling; POME treatment
Teow Yeit Haan and Abdul Wahab Mohammad: Research Centre for Sustainable Process Technology (CESPRO), Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
Teow Yeit Haan, Loh Wei Chean and Abdul Wahab Mohammad: Department of Chemical and Process Engineering , Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

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