Desalination

ELSEVIER

145 (2002) 115-122

Experimental investigation on separation performance of nanofiltration membranes for inorganic electrolyte solutions Xiao-Lin Wang”*, Wei-Ning Wangb, Da-Xin Wang” “Department of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, l?R. China Tel. i-86 (10) 62772130; Fax +86 (10) 62785475; e-mail: [email protected] YYollege of Material Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Technology, Nanjing 210009, P.R. China Received 4 February 2002; accepted 19 March 2002

Abstract Permeation experiments of KCl, NaCl, LiCl, MgCl?, MgSO, and K2Sp4 solutions were carried out using two commercial nanofiltration membranes, which were NF45 (Dow Chemical Corporation) and SU200 (Toray Corporation) membranes. The effects of the type and the concentration of electrolytes as well as the pH value of the electrolyte solution on the separation performance (such as rejections) were investigated. The experimental results showed that NF45 and SU200 membranes possess similar separation potential to the inorganic electrolytes of I- 1 type (LiCl, NaCl and KCl) and much different ones to the other electrolytes containing bivalent ions (MgCl,, K,SO and MgSO,) with different concentrations. The rejections to inorganic electrolytes by the two NF membranes decline $ with the growth of the electrolyte concentrations and approached some certain values when on much high concentrations (more than 400 mol.m-‘), which implied that the size of electrolyte-ions could not be ignored by comparison to the pore radii of NF membranes. The two NF membranes behave almost the same rejections to the electrolytes such as LiCl under various pH values of the feed solution from pH=4 to 10 and behaved the similar minimum values near the isoelectric point of pH=6.5. Keywords: Membrane

separation;

Nanofiltration;

Inorganic electrolytes

1. Introduction Nanofiltration (NF) membranes are a new type of separation membranes [l], which have intermediate molecule weight cut-offs (MWCO) of *Corresponding

electrolytes

author.

Presented at the International July 7-12, 2002.

200-2000 Dalton ranging between those of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes and ultrafiltration (UF) membranes. Most of them are charged either negatively or positively due to their materials; thus they are also applied for the separation of

Congress on Membranes

and Membrane

according Processes

00 11-C)164/02/$- See front matter 0 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved PII:SOOll-9164(02)00395-S

to Donnan (ICOM),

effect. According Toulouse, France,

116

X.-L. Wang et al. /Desalination

to these two features, NFmembranes are considered to consist of a bundle of charged capillaries with pore radii of nanoscale and evaluated on the basis of the pore model and the TMS model from the experimental data of the permeation of neutral solutes and salts [2-51. NF membranes are finding increased applicability in various fields, such as water treatment, dye, food and pharmacy industry due to their many merits and have also drawn much attention in China in recent years [6-Q. The knowledge of separation performance to inorganic electrolytes by a NF membrane is always important in the development of NF processes. Charge effect has been considered as a major factor that can be applied to explain why the rejections to inorganic electrolytes by a NF membrane decreased with the growth of the salt concentrations. However some certain values of rejections are still found on much high concentration of inorganic electrolytes in our recent experiments, which could not be described by Donnan exclusive theory. The main objective of this work is to investigate the separation performance of inorganic electrolytes, especially to find the certain values of rejections of salts on much high concentration and give a reasonable explain according to the electrostatic and steric-hindrance (ES) model [3]. In the meantime, the amphotyric behavior of the two NF membranes will be also investigated under various pH values of electrolyte solutions for the sake of finding out how the size effect act on the isoelectric point of the membrane. 2. Experimental

2.1. Membrane and solute NF45 (DOW Chemical Corporation, USA) and SU200 (Toray Corporation, Japan) NF membranes were chosen in this study. They are flat-sheet type and thin film composite membranes, made by interfacial polymerization on a polysulfone base. Six types of inorganic electrolytes (KCI, NaCl, LiCl, MgCl,, MgSO, and K,SO,) were employed in the permeation experiments. The concentrations and the pH value of inorganic electrolyte solution

145 (2002) 115-122

were measured with an electrical conductivity meter (model DDS-11 A) and a pH meter (model pHs-25) respectively, which were made by Shanghai LEICI Analysis Instruments Factory. 2.2. Permeation experiment The experimental apparatus was illustrated in the proceeding paper [9]. The test cell was from Nitto Denko Corporation and the area of the membrane used was 35.3 cm2. The permeation experiments were carried out under the conditions of the applied pressures of 0.25-1.50 MPa, the temperature of 25°C and the salt concentrations of 10-1000 mol.m-3. The retentate and permeate were both recycled back to the feed tank in order to hold the concentration of the feed solution constant. 3. Results and discussion

3. I. The stability of NF membranes The stability of the membrane tested should be confirmed in order to assure the reliability of the experimental data. A usual method is to measure the pure water permeability ($ = J,,/A/‘) of the two NF membranes, where J, is the pure water permeation flux through the membrane and hp is the applied pressure across the membrane. L,, is one of important parameters for the characterization of NF membranes and can be also expressed by the equation: L,, = r,,2/(8 ti,IA-Q

(1)

where rp and AJAX are the pore radius and the ratio of the porosity to the thickness of the membrane, p is the viscosity of the solution related to the operation temperature. If the temperature of feed solution was kept constant and the membrane stable (the structural parameters (r,, and AJAX) to be constant), L,, of a NF membrane should be unchanged. Figs. la and lb show that Lp of the NF membranes did not vary with the applied pressures from 0.25 to 1.2 MPa during the long operation time, so the two NF membranes can be considered

X.-L. Wang et al. /Desalination

.

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14.5 (2002) 115-122 (

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t/day

Fig. 1. Pure water permeabilities (L,,>of NF45 and SU200 membranes were plotted against applied pressure (a) and operation time (b). I

to be stable during the experimental

period (about

several weeks). 3.2. The type of electrolytes The permeation experiments of the two NF (NF45 and SU200) membranes were performed for the six inorganic electrolyte (KCl, NaCI, LiCI, MgCl,, MgSO, and K,SO,) solutions with different salt concentrations under the temperature of 25°C and applied pressures in a range of 0.25-

2.5

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1000.0mol.m3

.

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,

,

1.5 MPa. The volume flux and observed rejection of SU200 membrane for NaCl, KC1 and K,SO, solutions were plotted against the applied pressure as shown in Figs. 2-4. From these experimental data, one can find that the separation performance of the NF membrane vary deeply with the types of electrolytes. The separation performances of SU200 NF membrane show in good agreement for the same type of the electrolytes such as NaCl and KC1 (by comparison of Figs. 2 and 3), and distinct difference for the different types of

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Applied pressure/MPa

Fig. 2. Volume flux (a) and observed rejection (b) of SU200 membrane were plotted against applied pressure under several concentrations of NaCl and temperature of 25°C.

118

X.-L. Wang et al. /Desalination .

2.5

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145 (2002) 115-122

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0.8

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Applied pressure/MPa

Fig. 3. Volume tlux (a) and observed rejection (b) of SU200 membrane were plotted against applied pressure under several concentrations of KC1 and temperature of 25°C.

1.0

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Fig. 4. Volume flux (a) and observed rejection (b) of SU200 membrane were plotted against applied pressure under several concentrations of &SO4 and temperature of 25°C.

electrolytes, such as KC1 and KSO, (by comparison of Figs. 3 and 4). Fig. 5 also shows the volume flux and observed rejection of NF45 membrane for KSO, solution as a function of the applied pressure. As shown in Figs. 2a and 3a, the permeation volume flux (J,) of SU200 membrane as a function of the applied pressure can be plotted as a linear line for the monovalent electrolyte solutions (NaCl and KCl) with a wide range of the concentrations. However, for the electrolytes containing bivalent ions such as K,SO, the relation of Jy and the applied pressure becomes complicated as shown

in Fig. 4a and Fig. 5a. It can be explained from the Katchalsky-Cm-ran equation [lo], that is, J,, = L,, (AP - OAX)

(2)

where (r is the reflection coefficient in the SpieglerKedem analysis [ 1l] and it keeps constant for the membrane under certain operation conditions, and ATIis the osmotic pressure difference across the membrane and it is approximately proportional to the electrolyte concentration difference of the feed and the permeate.

X-L. Wang et al. /Desalination

2.5

.,

20 -

.,

.,

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10.0mol.m3

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100.0moI.m3

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145 (2002) 115-122

.

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.-...,r

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% 05

0.0 00

02

Applied pressure/MPa

Apllied pressure/MPa

Fig. 5. Volume flux (a) and observed rejection (b) of NF45 membrane were plotted against applied pressure under several concentrations of &SO4 and temperature of 25°C.

The observed rejections (R,,,.J to the six electrolytes by NF4.5 and SU200 membranes were also plotted against the applied pressure as shown in Fig. 6 under the concentrations of lOOmol.m-” and the temperature of 25°C. Figs. 2b, 3b, 4b, 5b and 6 indicate that (i) Rnbaincrease with the growth of the applied pressure and approached to the respective maximum values that are also called the reflection coefficient mentioned in the Spiegler-Kedem analysis [ 111; (ii) Robsby the two NF membranes show in good agreement for the same type of the monovalent electrolytes, LiCl,

-=08

0.6

i: oc”

-O-A-.-

i

-4-

NaCl and KCl, and quite distinct difference for the other types of electrolytes such as MgCl,, K,SO, and MgSO,. From above indications it is noted that there are some limitations to evaluate the electrical properties of a NF membrane based on the TMS model by using the permeation experiment data of a monovalent electrolyte (such as NaCl) solution proposed in our previous paper [2], and the other interaction between the membrane and ions, such as the steric-hindrance effect and the special sorption of ions on the membrane must be considered in the meantime.

(b) 1

(a)

KCI N&l LiCl MgC$ MgSO,

0.6 -

-n-KCI -ONaCl -A- LiCl -‘I- MgCI, -+--MgSO, AK,SO,

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i

.

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04-

t

0.0

Applied pressure/MPa

02

04

0.6

0.6

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1.2

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Applied pressure/MPa

Fig. 6. Observed rejections to KCI, NaCI, LiCI, MgCI,, MgSO, and &SO4 by NF45 (a) and SU200 (b) membranes were plotted against applied pressure under concentrations of IO0 mol.m-” and temperature of 25°C.

120

X.-L. Wang et al. /Desalination

10

II .

I

*

I

(a)

.

I

-mNF45 -o-ssu200

0.8 -

145 (2002) 115-122

-

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1000

0.0

“1

” 0

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' 400

300

C/(mold)

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C/(mol.m’3)

Fig. 7. Observed rejections to KC1 (a) and MgCl, (b) by NF45 and SU200 membranes were plotted against salt concentrations under applied pressure of 1.2 MPa and temperamre of 25°C

3.3. The concentration

of electrolytes

The effect of the concentration of electrolytes on R,),,>was also investigated as shown in Figs. 2b, 3b, 4b, 5b and 7. The experimental results show that Rob,,by the two NF membranes declined with the growth of the concentrations of all types of electrolytes tested. It could be attributed to the electrostatic effect between the membrane and the electrolytes based on the TMS model [2,12], especially for the monovalent electrolytes where the effect of the kinds of electrolytes can be neglected. The trendline of Robsas a function of the electrolyte concentration shown in Fig. 7 could be fitted as well based on the TMS model if the electrolyte concentration was lower than about 300 mol.m-“. However Robsto all kinds of electrolytes by the NF membranes still remained some certain values not zero even in much high concentration (higher than 400 mol.m-‘). For example, when the concentration is higher than 400 mol.m-3, not only R,,,,>to KC1 by NF45 and SU200 NF membranes are the same as about 0.13 , but also RobJto MgCl, by NF45 and SU200 NF membranes are the same as about 0.22 (Fig. 8) even though they are quite different at low concentrations. Those results can be expressed on the basis of the Electrostatic and steric-hindrance (ES) model [3], which consider both charge effect and size effect between

0.6

.

d

I -

0.4 -

0.2 -

0.01 2

.

..*_,dH' -*

\

4

6

6

IO

12

PH

Fig. 8. Ii,,,, to LiCl by NF45 and SU200 membranes was plotted against the pH value of the solution under the concentrations of 100 mol.m-‘, applied pressure of 1.OMPa and temperature of 25°C.

the electrolyte and the membrane. Therefore, the charge effect of electrolyte-ions should be considered as a dominant factor for NF of inorganic electrolytes of low concentration, and the steric effect of electrolyte-ions should be considered as well for NF of inorganic electrolytes of high concentrations. The influences of the types of electrolytes on Robrand the corresponding values under much high electrolyte concentration should be discussed from the Es model on second thoughts.

X.-L. Wang et al. /Desalination

3.4. The pH of electrolyte solution NF45 membranes used in this study has been evaluated to be ampholytic and displays an isoelectric point of 6.5 and hence is electrically positive for pH values lower than 6.5 and negative for pH values higher than 6.5 [13]. As shown in Fig. 8, NF45 and SU200 membranes show the same ampholytic behaviour in the permeation of LiCl solution of 100 mol.m-3 and there exists a minimal rejection to electrolytes within the range of the pH values from 4 to 10. However, even if the two NF membranes are considered to be neutral near the isoelectric point of 6.5, the observed rejections to electrolyte are much more than those under very high concentrations. It implies that the electrostatic interaction between the electrolyteions should not be neglected in the permeation of the electrolyte solution through a NF membrane because of their narrow nanoscale pore structure. The reason is not clear yet and needs to be investigated further.

145 (2002) 115-122

3. NF45 and SU200 membranes are ampholytic and have a minima1 rejection to electrolytes, which is much more than that of the same electrolyte with very high concentration. 4. For the NF process of inorganic electrolytes, not only the electrostatic effect should be considered, but also the steric-hindrance of ions and the other influences such as the specific sorption on the membrane should be taken account. Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 29876018) for the financial support. References

121

4. Conclusions In this study, the permeation of 6 inorganic electrolytes through NF45 and SU200 membranes were carried out under various conditions by changing the electrolyte concentrations and the pH values of the solutions. We can conclude as follows: 1. The rejections to inorganic electrolytes by the two NF membranes declined with the growth of the electrolyte concentrations and approached some certain values when on much high concentrations (more than 400 mol.m-‘), which could be considered as the result of the size effect of electrolyte-ions. 2. NF45 and SU200 membranes showed similar separation potential to the inorganic electrolytes of l-1 type (LiCl, NaCl and KCl) and much different ones to the other electrolytes containing bivalent ions (MgCl,, K,SO, and MgSO,) with different concentrations.

121

[31

141

151

I61 t71

181

191

R.J. Petersen, Composite reverse osmosis and nanofiltration membranes, J. Membr. Sci., 83 (1993) 81-150. X.L. Wang, T. Tsuru, M. Togoh, S. Nakao and S. Kimura, Evaluation of pore structure and electrical properties of nanofiltration membranes, J. Chem. Eng. Japan, 28 (1995) 186-192. X.L. Wang, T. Tsuru, S. Nakao and S. Kimura, The electrostatic and steric-hindrance model for the transport of charged solutes through nanofiltration membranes, J. Membr. Sci., 135 (1997) 19-32. W.R. Bowen and H. Mukhtar, Characterization and prediction of separation of nanofiltration membranes, J. Membr. Sci., 112 (1996) 263-274. W.R. Bowen and A.W. Mohammad, Diafiltration by nanotiltration: Prediction and optimization, AIChE J., 44 (1998) 1799-1785. C.J. Gao, S.C. Yu, J.E Zhang and H.R. Cai, Nanofiltration, Membr. Sci. Technol., 19(2) (1999) l-5. J.S Zhou and G.W Chen, Development of nanofiltration membrane, Membr. Sci. Technol., 19(4) (1999) 1-116. X.L. Wang, C.H. Zhang and J. Zhao, Separation mechanism of nanofiltration membranes and its applications in food and pharmaceutical industries. Membr. Sci. Technol., 20(l) (2000) 29-30. X.L. Wang, A.L. Yang and W.N. Wang, Nanofiltration of L-phenylalanine and L-aspartic acid aqueous solutions, J. Membr. Sci., 196 (2002) 59-67.

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[IO] A. Katchalsky and P.R. Curran, Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics in Biophysics, Harvard University Press, 1965, pp. 83-97. [ll] K.S. Spiegler and 0. Kedem, Thermodynamics of hypertlltration (reverse osmosis): criteria for efficient membranes, Desalination, 1 (1966) 31 l-326.

145 (2002) 115-122 [ 121 E. Hoffer and 0. Kedem, Hyperfiltration in charged membranes: the fixed charged model, Desalination, 2 (1967) 25. [ 131 Y. Xu and R.E. Lebrun, Investigation of the solute separation by charged nanofiltration membrane: effect of pH, ionic strength and solute type, J. Membr. Sci., 158 (1999) 93-104.

Experimental investigation on separation performance ...

Jul 7, 2002 - nanofiltration membranes for inorganic electrolyte solutions. Xiao-Lin Wang”* ... water treatment, dye, food and pharmacy industry due to their ...

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