Analysis of membrane fouling by Brunauer-Emmet-Teller nitrogen adsorption/desorption technique

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Membrane fouling is the major factor limiting the wider applicability of the membrane-based technologies in water treatment and in separation and purification processes of biorefineries, pulp and paper industry, food industry and other sectors. Endeavors to prevent and minimize fouling requires a deep understanding on the fouling mechanisms and their relative effects. In this study, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) nitrogen adsorption/desorption technique was applied to get an insight into pore-level membrane fouling phenomena occurring in ultrafiltration of wood-based streams. The fouling of commercial polysulfone and polyethersulfone membranes by black liquor, thermomechanical pulping process water and pressurized hot-water extract was investigated with BET analysis, infrared spectroscopy, contact angle analysis and pure water permeability measurements. Particular emphasis was paid to the applicability of BET for membrane fouling characterization. The formation of a fouling layer was detected as an increase in cumulative pore volumes and pore areas in the meso-pores region. Pore blocking was seen as disappearance of meso-pores and micro-pores. The results indicate that the presented approach of using BET analysis combined with IR spectroscopy can provide complementary information revealing both the structure of fouling layer and the chemical nature of foulants.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Lappeenranta University of Technology

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Kemiska processer


Antal sidor10
TidskriftScientific Reports
StatusPublished - 2020 feb 25
Peer review utfördJa