A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

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

Open Access publication

Publication Details
Authors: Virtanen Tiina, Rudolph Gregor, Lopatina Anastasiia, Al-Rudainy Basel, Schagerlöf Herje, Puro Liisa, Kallioinen Mari, Lipnizki Frank
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group: Open Access Journals - Option C / Nature Publishing Group
Publication year: 2020
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Scientific Reports
Journal acronym: SciRep
Volume number: 10
ISSN: 2045-2322
JUFO-Level of this publication: 1
Open Access: Open Access publication


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 deeper understanding on the fouling mechanisms and their relative effects. In this study, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) nitrogen adsorption/desorption technique was applied as a novel technique 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 micro-pores. The results indicate that the presented approach of using BET analysis combined with IR spectroscopy can provide important complementary information by revealing both the structure of fouling layer and the chemical nature of foulants.

Last updated on 2020-04-03 at 11:32