Role of foulant-membrane interactions in organic fouling of ro membranes with respect to membrane properties

Juhee Yang, Sangyoup Lee, Youngbeom Yu, Jihun Kuk, Seungkwan Hong, Seungyoon Lee, Kyungsok Min

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Initial fouling behavior due to membrane-foulant interactions was investigated by atomic force microscopy for various reverse osmosis membranes with different surface properties. Carboxylate modified latex and unmodified latex particles were used as surrogates of organic foulants. The results showed that the membrane-foulant adhesion forces were mainly governed by membrane surface properties such as hydrophobicity and surface charge. Stronger adhesion forces were determined for the membranes with more hydrophobic and less surface charge. Fouling experiments were further carried out to correlate the adhesion force data to actual flux-decline curves. A remarkable correlation was obtained where the membranes with stronger adhesion force more suffered from flux decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-955
Number of pages8
JournalSeparation Science and Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Land, Transport, and Maritime Affairs (MLTM) for supporting this study through Seawater Engineering & Architecture of High Efficiency Reverse Osmosis (SEAHERO) program.


  • Adhesion force
  • Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Membrane surface property
  • Organic fouling
  • RO membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Filtration and Separation


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