A series of adsorption experiments were performed to investigate the factors affecting the transport of natural organic matter (NOM) in an ion-exchange (IX) membrane. In this study, the structure of the NOM was hypothesized to be an important factor in terms of the organic fouling of IX membrane. It was found that the adsorbed mass of hydrophobic NOM constituent on the membrane surface was higher than that of either the hydrophilic or transphilic NOM constituent. NOM adsorption was seriously affected by the apparent charge of the NOM. As the apparent charge increased, NOM adsorption also significantly increased. Moreover, the molecular mass of the hydrophobic NOM acids was too high to enable them to pass through the IX membrane, and this caused an accumulated adsorption of solutes on the membrane surface, i.e. NOM fouling. In addition, both pH and ionic strength affected NOM adsorption on the surface of the IX membrane. Lower NOM adsorption resulted from a lower pH and a higher ionic strength.

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