Performance of nanofiltration membranes in the treatment of synthetic and real seawater

Nidal Hilal, Habis Al-Zoubi, Naif A. Darwish, Abdul Wahab Mohammad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nanofiltration membranes (NF) are being employed in pretreatment unit operations in both thermal and membrane seawater desalination processes and as partial demineralization to seawater. In order to predict NF membrane performance, a systematic study on the filtration performance of selected commercial NF membranes against seawater is presented in this paper. Two commercial nanofiltration membranes (NF90 and NF270) have been investigated in details to study their performance in filtering the salt mixture, synthetic and real seawater in a cross-flow NF membrane process at a pressure range from 4 to 9 bars. The Spiegler-Kedem model was used to fit the experimental data of rejection with the permeate flux in order to determine the fitting parameters of the reflection coefficient () and the solute permeability (Ps). The results showed that the rejection increases with pressure for NF90 and slightly increases with pressure for NF270. Also, the NF90 membrane has shown to be able to reject both monovalent and divalent of all investigated mixtures and seawater with very reasonable values but at a relatively low flux. Moreover, it reduced the salinity of investigated seawater from 38 to 25.5 g/L using one stage of the NF membrane at 9 bars. This makes NF90 more suitable for the application in the pretreatment of desalination processes. On the other hand, NF270 can reject monovalent ions at relatively low values and divalent ions at reasonable values. It has also reduced the seawater salinity to 33.6 g/L, but at a very high permeate flux. The SKM model fitted the experimental data of divalent ions in salt mixture and seawater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-515
Number of pages23
JournalSeparation Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Nanofiltration
  • Partial demineralization
  • Pretreatment
  • Real seawater
  • Salt mixture
  • Salt rejection
  • Spiegler-Kedem model
  • Synthetic seawater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Filtration and Separation


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