Streaming potential measurements as a characterization method for nanofiltration membranes

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

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The streaming potentials of two different nanofiltration membranes were studied with several electrolyte solutions to investigate the influence of salt type and concentration on the zeta potential and kinetic surface charge density of the membranes. The zeta potentials decreased with increasing salt concentration, whereas the kinetic surface charge densities increased. The kinetic surface charge densities could be described by Freundlich isotherms, except in one case, indicating that the membranes had a negligible surface charge. The kinetic surface charge density observed was caused by adsorbed anions. Salt retention measurements showed different mechanisms for salt separation for the two investigated membranes. One membrane showed a salt retention that could be explained by a Donnan exclusion type of separation mechanism, whereas for the other membrane the salt rejection seemed to be a combination of size and Donnan excluion. Comparing the results obtained by the streaming potential measurements with those of the retention measurements, it could be concluded that the membrane with the highest kinetic surface charge density showed the Donnan exclusion type of separation, whereas the membrane with the lower surface charge density showed a separation mechanism that was not totally determined by Donnan exclusion, size effects seemed to play a role as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-259
Number of pages13
JournalColloids and surfaces
Issue number150
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Streaming potential
  • Salt retention
  • Nanofiltration


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