Permeate flux increase by colloidal fouling control in a vibration enhanced reverse osmosis membrane desalination system

Xu Su, Wende Li, Alan Palazzolo, Shehab Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Experiments and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations were performed to investigate the colloidal fouling control of a vibration enhanced reverse osmosis (VERO) membrane system for up to 12 h of operation time. A porous cake mass transfer model for the reverse osmosis (RO) colloidal fouling analysis was derived by combining the cake filtration model, cake enhanced osmotic pressure (CEOP) effect, the critical flux theory, and the solute convection-diffusion model. The process of colloidal particle deposition and fouling formation on the membrane surface were visualized using this model. The permeate flux variation and cake layer distribution along the membrane were depicted. Systematic studies including different initial permeate fluxes, Reynolds numbers, particle concentrations, and vibration frequencies were carried out to investigate the system performance under different operation conditions. The results suggest that colloidal fouling induced permeate flux decline could be improved by the high-frequency vibration in the VERO module. Both simulations and experiments demonstrated that, with a fixed vibration amplitude, membrane module with higher vibration frequencies will have less NaCl accumulation and higher permeate flux under the influence of colloidal fouling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-36
Number of pages15
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2019-11-27


  • Cake enhanced osmotic pressure (CEOP)
  • Colloidal fouling control
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Concentration polarization (CP)
  • Vibration enhanced reverse osmosis (VERO)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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