This paper describes the results of research focussed on the different effects of in-line coagulation (FeCl3), towards the operation of semi-dead-end UF for drinking water and process water production starting from surface water. In this research, firstly the effects of the use of FeCl3 on the formed cake were studied, by both direct and indirect measurements. Using the ESEM technique (environmental scanning electron microscopy), which enables one to make pictures of wet samples, we observed that cake thickness was much higher upon use of FeCl3 (20 instead of 2 μm). As a result, the cake porosity was calculated to be much higher with than without coagulant use (93% instead of 37%). From the stability (nonincreasing) of the starting transmembrane pressure (TMP) in the successive filtration cycles, upon semidead-end operation, it was concluded that cake layer was less prone to adhere to the membrane surface when using coagulant. This is even more emphasized once the dosing is stopped, as a consequence the TMP rises very steeply under difficult circumstances, such as; high flux rates, high water recovery rates, and the use of membranes made from polymers with high adsorption properties. Secondly, indirect effects of the use of coagulant on filtration behaviour were investigated. Thus, it was found that TMP increase in the filtration cycle was much lower, due to depth filtration in the formed high-volume cake, and TMP was much more stable over a long time. These observations were in good agreement with found higher cake porosity. Moreover, it was observed that due to the use of a coagulant, the influences of membrane polymer nature and membrane structure disappeared, cleaning action could be postponed and cleaning aggressiveness could be lowered. In addition, water recovery and flux rate could be increased, and influence of seasonal water quality variations could be better faced. Finally, it was found that the treatment of surface water with high DOC content (e.g. 10 mg DOC/l) was enabled.

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