Membrane use in water treatment has historically focused on desalination. With the development of new membrane materials, attention began to focus on reverse osmosis and pervaporation as alternatives to traditional water treatment processes. This paper addresses the use of reverse osmosis in removing one class of organic compounds, the alkanes (chlorinated and brominated hydrocarbons) from drinking water, using six membranes: a cellulose acetate, a polyamide (hollow fibre), and four different types of thin-film composites. The thin-film composite membranes removed 80–95% of the low molecular weight (100–250) alkanes tested.

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