Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) flat ultrafiltration membranes modified by nano-sized alumina (Al2O3) particles were prepared by phase inversion process and their properties and anti-fouling performances were examined. The influence of three types of natural organic matters on the modified membrane fouling was also studied. Raw water was taken from two different locations, i.e., Harbin and Zhaoyuan, of Songhua River. Dissolved organic compounds in the raw water were fractionated using XAD resins into three fractions, i.e., hydrophobic fraction, transphilic fraction, and hydrophilic fraction (HPI). The three adsorbed compounds were further eluted and dissolved into distilled water respectively to prepare the feed for the fouling tests. All solutions were adjusted to a concentration of 10.6 mg C/L, which equals to the total organic carbon (TOC) of the raw water. Results show that the addition of nano-Al2O3 particulars did not affect the inherent traits of the PVDF membranes, however, its surface hydrophilic properties were improved significantly with the addition of nanoparticles and anti-fouling performance was enhanced as well. The HPIs in the Songhua River were the main foulant, causing more fouling to membrane than hydrophobic and transphilic matters.
Keywords: anti-fouling, modified membrane, nano-Al2O3, organic pollutants, PVDF, ultrafiltration