News Column

Investigators from Harvard University Report New Data on Membrane Science

May 6, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Technology -- Fresh data on Membrane Science are presented in a new report. According to news reporting originating in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by VerticalNews journalists, research stated, "Organic fouling of ultrafiltration (UP) membranes results in decreased water flux and increased energy requirements. Modification of UP membrane surfaces is one possible method to mitigate natural organic matter (NOM) fouling, yet to date; most modifications have been passive."

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Harvard University, "In this study, we investigate the use of a carbon nanotube-polyvinylidene fluoride (CNT-PVDF) porous non-Faradaic cathode on top of a OF membrane to actively produce negative surface charges via capacitive charging. The study is divided into three elements: (1) modification of the OF system with the capacitive CNT-PVDF electrodes and determination of the optimal electrode-membrane configuration, (2) analysis of the fouling mitigation mechanism, and (3) evaluation of the practical potential of capacitive fouling reduction. All experiments were completed in the cross-flow configuration. The optimal electrode-membrane configuration for organic fouling reduction was when the permeate first flowed through the porous anode, then the CNT-PVDF cathode, and finally the polyethersulfone (PBS) UP membrane. The extent of capacitive fouling reduction was determined to be a function of anode material, ionic strength, and cathode potential. The primary fouling reduction mechanism is the potential-induced cathodic negative surface charges that increase the Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) energy barrier and decrease the collision efficiency of negatively-charged organic matter with the membrane surface."

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "The capacitive system has potential to reduce energy requirements by up to 2-fold as compared to the unmodified OF system when challenged with 10 ppm NOM solutions at low ionic strength."

For more information on this research see: Conductive CNT-PVDF membrane for capacitive organic fouling reduction. Journal of Membrane Science, 2014;459():143-156. Journal of Membrane Science can be contacted at: Elsevier Science Bv, PO Box 211, 1000 Ae Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Elsevier -; Journal of Membrane Science -

Our news correspondents report that additional information may be obtained by contacting Q.Y. Zhang, Harvard University, Sch Engn & Appl Sci, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States.

Keywords for this news article include: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, Membrane Science, North and Central America

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Source: Journal of Technology

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