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Membrane Water Treatment
  Volume 2, Number 4, October 2011 , pages 251-266

The use of HRSEM to characterize new and aged membranes in drinking water production
Y. Wyart, S. Nitsche, D. Chaudanson, K. Glucina and P. Moulin

    This work deals with the use of High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscopy (HRSEM) to verify ultrafiltration membrane selectivity at the end of the production line as well as membrane ageing. The first part of this work is focused on new membranes. It is shown that it is better to use sputtering metallization than vacuum deposition, as this latter technique entails thermal damage to the skin layer. Moreover, the impact of the metallization layer on the determination of the membrane pore size is studied and it is observed that no impact of the metallization step can be clearly defined for a metallization layer ranging from 3 to 12 nm. For example, an average pore size of 16.9 nm and a recovery rate of 6.5 % are observed for a 150 kDa cellulose acetate membrane. These results are in agreement with those given by the manufacturer: pore size ranging from 10 to 15 nm and recovery rate ranging from 5 to 10 %. The second part of this work focuses on the study of membrane ageing. A PVDF hollow fibre membrane is studied. It is shown that a 65 % decrease in the permeate flux can be linked to a decrease in the number of pores at the surface of the membrane and a decrease in the recovery rate. In conclusion, a mapping of the pores is performed for several new hollow fibre membranes used to produce drinking water, made of different materials, with different geometries and molecular weight cut-off. These results provide reference data that will help better understand the phenomena of membrane fouling and membrane ageing.
Key Words
    HRSEM; mapping; drinking water; membrane ageing
Y. Wyart, P. Moulin : Laboratoire de Mecanique, Modelisation et Procedes Propres (M2P2-CNRS-UMR 6181),
Universite Paul Cezanne Aix Marseille, Europole de l\'Arbois, BP 80, Bat. Laennec, Hall C, 13545 Aix en Provence cedex 04, France
S. Nitsche, D. Chaudanson : Centre Interdisciplinaire de Nanoscience de Marseille (CINaM-UPR 3138), Campus de Luminy,
13288 Marseille Cedex 09, France
K. Glucina : SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, CIRSEE, Pole Qualite Eau, 38, rue du President-Wilson, 78230 Le Pecq, France

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