Journal of chemical technology and biotechnology vol:81 issue:7 pages:1166-1176
A large number of different mechanisms describing the retention of dissolved organic compounds in nanofiltration have been proposed. A recent review identified the parameters possibly involved in the separation performance and suggested a qualitative classification of dissolved compounds. Continuing this approach, a semi-quantitative assessment of the observed rejections in nanofiltration is given in this paper, based on threshold values of key parameters such as molecular weight and molecular weight cut-off (MWCO), molecular size, pH and pK(a), hydrophobicity (log K-ow) and membrane charge. Experimental values and literature data were used to provide a broad basis for comparison. It was concluded that (a) all categories that contain hydrophobic components are badly defined, in particular for small components, with rejections varying from low to very high, (b) all components that contain hydrophilic components have relatively high rejections and (c) all categories that contain charged components have well-defined, high rejections (intermediate for membranes with low surface charge). In all cases, the average rejection is higher when the component's molecular weight is larger than the MWCO of the membrane and when the molecular size is larger than the pore size of the membrane. (c) 2006 Society of Chemical Industry.