Verification of a Combined Fouling Model to Predict Flux Decline during Ultrafiltration of Organic Solutes


  • I. N. H. M. Amin Section of Chemical Engineering Technology, Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Chemical & Bioengineering Technology, Lot 1988 Kaw. Perindustrian Bdr. Vendor, Taboh Naning, 78000 Alor Gajah, Melaka, Malaysia
  • A. W. Mohammad Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia



Studies were conducted to investigate the blocking mechanism and flux decline behavior while treating organic solutes contained in glycerin-water solutions (triglycerides, TG and fatty acid, FA). Two ultrafiltration membranes were tested, polyethersulphone (PES 25 kDa) and polyvinylidenfluoride (PVDF 30 kDa) membranes. Influence of TG and its combination (TG-FA mixtures) as foulant models, pH of feed solutions (3–10) and membrane surface chemistry were investigated. Combined blocking model was applied and the fitting were discriminate that the flux decline of PES membrane was dominated by pore blockage at the early stage and later by cake resistance during the entire filtration time. However, for PVDF membrane, cake formation mechanism was acknowledged as the major contributor to the fouling mechanism for all the parameters tested. On the other hand, the model predicts there are two stages of filtration appeared to occur, involving pore blockage at the early stage followed by cake formation.

Author Biography

I. N. H. M. Amin, Section of Chemical Engineering Technology, Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Chemical & Bioengineering Technology, Lot 1988 Kaw. Perindustrian Bdr. Vendor, Taboh Naning, 78000 Alor Gajah, Melaka, Malaysia

Section of Process Engineering Technology


M. C. Burshe, S. B. Sawant, V. G. Pangarkar. 1999. Dehydration of Glycerin-water mixtures by Pervaporation. JAOCS. 76: 209-214.

S. Fereidoon. 2005. Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products: Sixth Edition Vol. 1 Edible Oil and Fat Products: Chemistry, Properties, and Health Effects. United States: A John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Publication.

D. B. Khairnar, V. G. Pangarkar. 2004. Dehydration of Glycerin/water Mixtures by Pervaporation using Homo and Copolymer Membranes. JAOCS. 81: 505-510.

L. Jeromin, W. Johannisbauer, S. Blum, R. Sedelies, H. Moormann, B. Holfoth, J. Plachenka. 1996. Process for the Purification of Glycerol Water. U.S.Patent 5,527,974.

A. W. Mohammad, P. T. Yap, T. Y. Wu. 2009. Performance of Hydrophobic Ultrafiltration Membranes in the Treatment and Protein Recovery From Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME). Des. Water Treatment. 10: 332-338.

T. Y. Wu, A. W. Mohammad, J. M., Jahim, N. Anuar. 2007. Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) Treatment and Bioresources Recovery Using Ultrafiltration Membrane: Effect of Pressure on Membrane Fouling. Biochemical Eng. Journal. 35: 309-317.

W. J. Zhang, M. Zhang, F. Xiao, L. P. Fang, D. S. Wang. 2014. Pretreatment of High Strength Waste Emulsions by Combined Vibratory Shear Enhanced Process with Fenton Oxidation. International Journal of Env. Sci. and Techn. 11: 731-738.

A. Salahi, M. Abbasi, T. Mohammadi, T. 2010. Permeate Flux Decline during UF of Oily Wastewater: Experimental and Modeling. Desalination. 251: 153-160.

Y. Pan, W. Wang, T. Wang, P. Yao. 2007. Fabrication of Carbon Membrane and Microfiltration of Oil-in-Water Emulsion: An Investigation on Fouling Mechanisms. Sep. and Purif. Techn. 57: 388-393.

S. Kosvintsev, R. G. Holdich, I. W. Cumming, V. M. Starov. 2002. Modelling of Dead-end Microfiltration with Pore Blocking and Cake Formation. J. Memb. Sci. 208: 181-192.

C.-C. Ho, A.L. Zydney. 2000. A Combined Pore Blockage and Cake Filtration Model for Protein Fouling During Microfiltration. J. Colloid and Interface Sci. 232: 389-399.

H. Peng, A. Y. Tremblay. 2008. Membrane Regeneration and Filtration Modeling in Treating Oily Wastewaters. J. Memb. Sci. 324: 59-66.

W. Yuan, A. Kocic, A. L. Zydney. 2002. Analysis of Humic Acid Fouling During Microfiltration Using a Pore Blockage-Cake Filtration Model. J. Memb. Sci. 198: 51-62.

H-C, Kim, B. A. Dempsey. 2013. Membrane Fouling due to Alginate, SMP, EfOM, Humic Acid, and NOM. J. Memb. Sci. 428: 190-7.

C. Y. Tang, Q. She, W. C. L. Lay. R. Wang, A. G. Fane. 2010. Coupled Effects of Internal Concentration Polarization and Fouling on Flux Behavior of Forward Osmosis Membranes During Humic Acid Filtration. J. Memb. Sci. 354: 123-33.

C. Y. Ng, A. W. Mohammad, L. Y. Ng, J. M Jahim. 2014. Membrane Fouling Mechanisms during Ultrafiltration of Skimmed Coconut Milk. J. Food Eng. 142: 190-200.

M. C. V. Vela, S.A. Blanco, J. L. García, E. B. Rodríguez. 2006. Application of a Dynamic Model that Combines Pore Blocking and Cake Formation in Crossflow Ultrafiltration. Desalination. 200: 138-139.

H. Rezaei, F.Z. Ashtiani, A. Fouladitajar. 2011. Effects of Operating Parameters on Fouling Mechanism and Membrane Flux in Cross-flow Microfiltration of Whey. Desalination. 274: 262-271.

G. Bolten, D. LaCasse, R. Kuriyel. 2006. Combined Models of Membrane Fouling: Development and Application to Microfiltration and Ultrafiltration of Biological Fluids. J. Membr. Sci. 277: 75-84.

H. Peng, A. Y. Tremblay. 2008. The Selective Removal of Oil from Wastewaters While Minimizing Concentrate Production using a Membrane Cascade. Desalination. 229: 318-330.

K. L. Jones, C. R. O' Melia. 2001. Ultrafiltration of Protein and Humic Substances: Effect of Solution Chemistry on Fouling and Flux Decline. J. Membr. Sci. 193: 163-173.

A. Lobo, A. Cambiella, J. M. Benito, C. Pazos, J. Coca. 2006. Ultrafiltration of Oil-in-Water Emulsions with Ceramic Membranes: Influence of pH and Crossflow Velocity. J. Membr. Sci. 278: 328-334.

I. N. H. M. Amin, A. W. Mohammad, M. Markom, C. P. Leo, N. Hilal. 2010. Flux Decline Study during Ultrafiltration of Glycerin-Rich Fatty Acid Solutions. J. Membr. Sci. 351: 75-86.

I. N. H. M. Amin, A. W. Mohammad, M. Markom, C. P. Le. 2010. Effects of Palm Oil-Based Fatty Acids on Fouling of Ultrafiltration Membranes during the Clarification of Glycerin-Rich Solution. J. Food Eng. 101: 264-272.

Z. Wang, J. Chu, X. Zhang, X. 2007. Study of a Cake Model during Stirred Dead-End Microfiltration. Desalination. 217: 127-138.

M. A. Indok Nurul Hasyimah, A. W. Mohammad. 2014. Assessment of Fouling Mechanisms in Treating Organic Solutes Synthesizing Glycerin-Water Solutions by Modified Hermia Model. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 53: 15213-15221. DOI:10.1021/ie502509d.

Amin, I. N. H. M., Mohammad, A. W. & Hilal, N. 2014. Description of Membrane Fouling Characteristics during Uktrafiltration of Organic Foulants Contained In Sweetwater Solutions. J. Env. Chem. Eng. 2: 1243-1251.

K. Katsoufidou, S. G. Yiantsios, A. J. Karabelas. 2005. A Study of Ultrafiltration Membrane Fouling by Humic Acids and Flux Recovery by Backwashing: Experiments and Modelling. J. Membr. Sci. 266: 40-50.

E.-E. Chang, S.-Y. Yang, C.-P. Huang, C.-H. Liang, P.-C. Chiang. 2011. Assessing the Fouling Mechanisms of High-Pressure Nanofiltration Membrane Using the Modified Hermia Model and the Resistance-in-Series Model. Sep. Purif. Techn. 79: 329-336.

V. Chen, A. G. Fane, C. J. D. Fell. 1992. The Use of Anionic Surfactants for Reducing Fouling of Ultrafiltration Membranes: Their Effects and Optimization. J. Membr. Sci. 67: 249-261.

W. S. Ang, A. Tiraferri, K. L. Chen, M. Elimelech. 2011. Fouling and Cleaning of RO Membranes Fouled by Mixtures of Organic Foulants Simulating Wastewater Effluent. J. Membr. Sci. 376: 196-206.

I. Sutzkover-Gutman, D. Hasson, R. Semiat. 2010. Humic Substances Fouling in Ultrafiltration Processess. Desalination. 261: 218-231.




How to Cite

Amin, I. N. H. M., & Mohammad, A. W. (2018). Verification of a Combined Fouling Model to Predict Flux Decline during Ultrafiltration of Organic Solutes. Journal of Applied Membrane Science &Amp; Technology, 22(2).