Fouling of reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration membranes: a critical review
Desalination using reverse osmosis membranes has become very popular for producing fresh water from brackish water and seawater. Membrane life time and permeate flux, however, are primarily affected by the phenomena of concentration polarization and fouling at the membrane surface. The scope of the current paper was to critically review the literature on the fouling phenomena in reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration membrane systems, the analytical techniques employed to quantify fouling, preventive methods, and membrane cleaning strategies. The paper also makes specific recommendations on how scientists, engineers and technical staff can assist in improving the performance of these systems through fundamental and applied research.