Desalination, Vol.464, 76-83, 2019
Scaling prevention of thin film composite polyamide Reverse Osmosis membranes by Zn ions
On the West Coast of South Africa, there is an abundance of brackish groundwater. Reverse Osmosis membrane systems are used to make the borehole water fresh. Unfortunately, the salts that are removed from the water, precipitates on the membrane surface, thus, decreasing the overall process efficiency. In this study, the use of Zn2+ ions as an anti-scalant was investigated in terms of feasibility in the treatment of brackish water influent. Experimental tests were conducted on a bench scale unit, followed with a pilot plant thereafter. Three commercial membranes were exposed to natural groundwater scaling. The first, commercial anti-scalant treatment, second, anti-scalant treatment with Zn2+ ions and the third, untreated. The results, after a period of close to 5 months, showed that the flux of the membranes treated with commercial (32.78 L.m(-2).h(-1)) and zinc (30.80 L.m(-2)-h(-1)) ions anti-scalant was higher than the untreated membrane flux (25.56 L.m(-2).h(-1)), which decreased continuously.