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Differential ATR FTIR spectroscopy of membrane fouling: Contributions of the substrate/fouling films and correlations with transmembrane pressure

Guo, Hongguang, Tang, Xinyu, Ganschow, Gilbert, Korshin, Gregory V.
Water research 2019 v.161 pp. 27-34
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, absorbance, alginates, filtration, fouling, ionic strength, permeability, reflectance, reflectance spectroscopy, vibration
This study examined the formation of fouling films deposited on the surface of a polyethersulfone (PES) membrane during the filtration of alginate solutions with various ionic strengths. Membrane fouling was characterized by changes of the transmembrane pressure (TMP) and ex situ measured attenuated total reflectance (ATR) Fourier-transform IR (FTIR) spectra at varying stages of filtration runs. The ATR spectra that comprise the vibration bands characteristic of the PES substrate and the deposited film were processed taking into the gradual weakening of the PES substrate-specific bands, whose intensity was shown to depend on the wavenumber of IR radiation and the thickness of the deposited layer. Strongly linear correlations between ratios of first derivatives intensity and wavenumbers of the PES reference lines were established. Calculations of the PES bands’ attenuation coefficients allowed determining the apparent thickness and ATR FTIR vibrations of the fouling films per se. Strong correlations between TMP development and ATR-determined apparent thickness of the fouling layers were observed. The intensity of ATR absorbance at 3200 cm−1 was linearly correlated with TMP development for small TMP values before the point of rapidly developing failure of the hydraulic permeability of the system was reached.