Periodic electrolysis technique for in situ fouling control and removal with low-pressure membrane filtration

Hadeel Subhi Abid, Daniel James Johnson, Ben Clifford, David T. Gethin, Paolo Bertoncello, Raed Hashaikeh, Nidal Hilal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrically conductive membranes and their application for desalination pre-treatment and water purification have an exceptional performance due to self-cleaning of fouling deposits by the application of external electric fields. However, the effectiveness of existing conductive membranes is hampered by their common applications. The current approach aims to better understand the in situ fouling mitigation and enhanced flux by employing two different electrically conductive coated feed spacer configurations during filtration of humic acid at concentrations of 8, 12, 16 and 20 ppm. Periodic electrolysis was applied for a duration of 2 min with three intervals of 30, 45 and 60 min. A comparison of both the feed spacers was made in terms of the effect of the applied potential and interval time on enhancement of water flux, as well as the required energy consumption at four different concentrations. In terms of enhanced flux and energy consumption, feed spacer A (2 × 2 mm aperture size) revealed better results than feed spacer B (3 × 2 mm), which may be attributed to a greater conductive area. The reported technique shows a major advantage of in situ feed spacer self-cleaning, thus providing a continuous and non-destructive approach for the mitigation of surface fouling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-24
Number of pages15
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Electrically conductive coated feed spacer
  • NOM
  • Pre-treatment
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Periodic electrolysis technique for in situ fouling control and removal with low-pressure membrane filtration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this