The utilization of membrane processes for drinking water treatment has become more popular. However, fouling by source water probably is the major factor prohibits its widespread application. In this research, the fouling phenomena of a microfiltration (MF) membrane were studied. The interactions among colloidal particles, calcium ion, and dissolved organics, such as salicylic acid, humic acid, and alginic acid, on MF fouling were focused. A lab-scale single hollow fiber MF membrane, made of polyvinylidenefluoride (PVDF), module was used. The results show that, for single organic compound, the extent of fouling caused by humic acid was higher that of alginic acid. For the latter, the permeate flux decrease at lower pH was more significant than those at higher pH. For low MW salicylic acid, both rejection and flux decrease were minor. It seems that solubility have strong correlation with fouling rate. The higher the solubility is, the lower the fouling rate. For sole colloidal particle system, latex beads with diameter close to the pore size of MF membrane showed severe fouling. Adding Ca can aggregate the latex beads, and alleviate fouling. However, calcium ion also found to increase fouling of alginic acid on membrane under neutral or alkali pH condition, probably via charge neutralization and/or bridging. In conclusion, MF fouling seems to be strongly related to the type of organics, size of colloidal particles, and the existence of divalent ions, in the feed water.
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