Assessment of silt density index (SDI) as fouling propensity parameter in reverse osmosis (RO) desalination systems

Rinaldi Rachman, NorEddine Ghaffour, F. Wali, Gary L. Amy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Due to its simplicity, silt density index (SDI) is extensively used in reverse osmosis systems despite its limitations in predicting membrane fouling. Employing a reliable fouling index with good reproducibility and precision is necessary. The aim of this investigation is to assess the reliability of SDI in order to understand the reasons for the low level of precision and accuracy. Different commercial SDI membranes and feed water quality were used in this study. Results showed the existence of membrane properties' variation within manufacturers, which then causes a lack of accuracy in fouling risk estimation. The nature of particles during SDI filtration provides information that particle concentration and size play a significant role in SDI quantification with substantial representation given by particles with size close to membrane nominal pore size. Moreover, turbidity-assisted SDI measurements along with determination of ultrafiltration permeate and clean water fouling potential, establish the indication of nonfouling-related phenomena involved on SDI measurement such as natural organic matter adsorption and hydrodynamic conditions that alters during filtration. Additionally, it was found that the latter affects the sensitivity of SDI by being represented by some portions of SDI values. © 2013 Desalination Publications.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1103
Number of pages13
JournalDesalination and Water Treatment
Issue number4-6
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


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