Variation and prediction of membrane fouling index under various feed water characteristics

Chanhyuk Park, Hana Kim, Seungkwan Hong, Suing Il Choi

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77 Scopus citations


Membrane fouling index such as silt density index (SDI) and modified fouling index (MFI) is an important parameter in design of the integrated RO (reverse osmosis) and NF (nanofiltration) membrane processes for drinking water treatment. In this study, the effect of various foulant characteristics on membrane fouling index was investigated systematically. As expected, the fouling index (both SDI and MFI) increased with increasing particle concentration. When organic matter was the primary cause of membrane fouling, the MFI based on cake filtration theory was not accurately measured due to internal fouling such as pore adsorption. The fouling index was determined mainly by particle characteristics when both particulate and organic foulants coexisted in the feed water. This observation was attributed to lessening of organic pore adsorption by particle cake layer formed on the membrane surface. Prediction of MFI by using Happel cell model for the hydraulic resistance of the particle cake layer was also performed. The effect of primary model parameters including particle size (ap) and particle concentration (C0), were accurately assessed without any fitting parameters, and the MFI values predicted by the model exhibited very good agreement with the experimental results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-254
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is supported by Saehan Inc., RO/NF membrane manufacturer in Korea.


  • Happel cell model
  • Membrane fouling index
  • Modified fouling index (MFI)
  • Particle fouling
  • Silt density index (SDI)


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