Removal of natural organic matter by ultrafiltration with TiO2-coated membrane under UV irradiation

Arie Dipareza Syafei, Cheng Fang Lin*, Chung Hsin Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the performance of ultrafiltration (UF) by membranes coated with titanium dioxide (TiO2) photocatalyst under ultraviolet (UV) illumination in removing natural organic matter (NOM) and possibly in reducing membrane fouling. Experiments were carried out using heat-resistant ceramic disc UF membranes and humic acids as model substances representing naturally occurring organic matter. Membrane sizes of 1, 15, and 50 kDa were used to examine the effects of coating under ultraviolet irradiation. A commercial humic solution was subjected to UF fractionation (batch process); gel filtration chromatography was applied to study the effects of molecular weight distribution of NOM on UF membrane fouling. When compared to naked membranes, UV254 (ultraviolet light of λ = 254   nm) illumination of TiO2-coated membranes exhibits more flux decline with similar effluent quality. Although the UF membrane is able to remove a significant amount of humic materials, the incorporated photocatalysis results in poor performance in terms of permeate flux. The TiO2-coated membrane under UV254 irradiation alters the molecular weight (MW) distribution of humic materials, reducing them to <1 kDa, which is smaller than the smallest (1-kDa) membrane in this study. Thus, TiO2-coated membranes under UV254 irradiation do not perform any better in removing natural organic matter and reducing membrane fouling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008


  • Flux decline
  • Humic acid
  • Membrane fouling
  • Photocatalysis
  • TiO
  • Ultrafiltration


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