Retention measurements of nanofiltration membranes with electrolyte solutions

J.M.M. Peeters, J.P. Boom, M.H.V. Mulder, H. Strathmann

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Retention measurements with single salt solutions of CaCl2, NaCl and Na2SO4 revealed that the rejection mechanism of commercial polymeric nanofiltration membranes investigated in this study may be divided into two categories: 1. Membranes for which Donnan exclusion seems to play an important role. 2. Membranes for which retention is determined by both Donnan exclusion and size effects. In category 1 both positively and negatively charged membranes were found. Ceramic γ-Al2O3 ultrafiltration membranes with a pore size of 3 nm showed a same type of salt retention behavior as the positively charged polymeric membranes. The extended Nernst–Planck equation in combination with the Donnan equilibrium has been used to model the flux-retention experiments for the salt solutions. The numerical calculations resulted in a good agreement with experimental data and acceptable values for the fixed charge densities have been determined. The effective membrane thicknesses calculated were higher than those observed by scanning electron microscopy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-209
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of membrane science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Salt retention
  • Nanofiltration
  • Extended Nernst–Planck equation


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