Fabrication and evaluation of an attapulgite membrane as the filter for recycling blowdown water from industrial boilers

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Continuous blowdown water (CBW) from industrial boilers is of great quantity and energy, and therefore worth recycling. According to the data from a long period of monitoring, carbonate and sulfate were documented as the main contaminants in CBW. Herein, an attapulgite (ATP) membrane was prepared on a macroporous Al2O3 support through solid state sintering. The prepared membrane (attapulgite membrane (ATM)) was characterized by mercury porosimetry, scanning electron microscope, X-ray diffraction, and permselectivity analysis in dead-end mode. The optimal sintering temperature was 800 °C based on the morphology of the sintered active layer and its adhesive strength with support. The active layer exhibited a pore size distribution concentrated on 12.7nm with a thickness of about 80μm. In addition, crystal structures of ATP were retained in powder form after sintering. ATM obtained a pure water permeability of 1,411.87Lm–2h–1MPa–1 with the effective retention of carbonate and sulfate through electrical-related interactions. Several ATM filters were also developed and mounted on the boiler blowdown pipe, which had a high rejection rate of alkalinity and dissolved solids in CBW. The volume of wastewater emitted from the low-pressure boiler was reduced, since the filtrate could be recycled as part of the make-up water.

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