Abstract

Although ultrafiltration membranes have been used for the separation of macromolecules and colloids from solutions, this process has a limited application in the removal of dyes present in coloured discharges of textile industry, as these typically have much lower molecular weight than the molecular cut-off of the membranes (MWCO). In the present work, we have evaluated the behaviour of a polysulfone ultrafiltration membrane in the removal of different dyes from aqueous solutions (Congo red, methyl green and amaranth). Different variables (tangential flow rate, concentration of dye and pH of the feed) were studied to determine their influence on the separation processes (permeate flux and rejection coefficient). The results show that Congo red is easily removed with a GR60PP membrane (MWCO = 25 kDa), whereas methyl green and amaranth show rejection coefficient values of approximately 25.78% and 13.85%, respectively, at neutral pH. Also, an interesting effect is observed for the rejection coefficient for methyl green at different pH values. In addition, several treatments were performed to the membrane so as to modify its surface, trying to improve the values obtained for permeate flux and rejection rate.

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