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Characterization and Performance Evaluation of Ultrafiltration Membrane for Humic Acid Removal


  • Research Centre for Sustainable Process Technology (CESPRO), Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Malaysia


Background/Objectives: Humic Acid (HA) appears in conventional water treatment processes will compose to carcinogenic disinfection by-products. This has sparked this study to examine the effectiveness of polymeric membranes in HA removal. Methods/Statistical Analysis: Different types of membranes with a wide range of Molecular Weight Cut-Off (MWCO) were used in this study and their separation performances were evaluated by varying the Transmembrane Pressure (TMP) and HA concentrations. The permeates and feeds were analyzed by measuring the UV absorbance at wavelength of 254 nm. Findings: Among four membrane modules that used in this study, it was found that membrane Modules 1, 2 and 3 demonstrated similar performances in HA removal with a separation rate of at least 50%. Excellent HA separation (>90%) was reported with the use of membrane Module 4. Increasing of HA concentration from 0.1 to 0.2 mg/L did not expressively reduce membrane efficiency. These membranes however having severe fouling which contributed to a low permeate flow rates after a few runs. The permeate flux was initially high but reduced over the operation time. Simple cleaning could be conducted to recover the permeate flux but not 100% recovery as compared to the original fresh membranes. Application/Improvements: Based on the experiments, it can be established that the hollow fiber UF membrane is suitable for HA removal.


Humic Acid, Membrane Filtration, Ultrafiltration, Water Treatment.

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