Antifouling membranes for oily wastewater treatment: Interplay between wetting and membrane fouling

Shilin Huang, Robin H.A. Ras, Xuelin Tian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

250 Citations (Scopus)
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Oily wastewater is an extensive source of pollution to soil and water, and its harmless treatment is of great importance for the protection of our aquatic ecosystems. Membrane filtration is highly desirable for removing oil from oily water because it has the advantages of energy efficiency, easy processing and low maintenance cost. However, membrane fouling during filtration leads to severe flux decline and impedes long-term operation of membranes in practical wastewater treatment. Membrane fouling includes reversible fouling and irreversible fouling. The fouling mechanisms have been explored based on classical fouling models, and on oil droplet behaviors (such as droplet deposition, accumulation, coalescence and wetting) on the membranes. Membrane fouling is dominated by droplet-membrane interaction, which is influenced by the properties of the membrane (e.g., surface chemistry, structure and charge) and the wastewater (e.g., compositions and concentrations) as well as the operation conditions. Typical membrane antifouling strategies, such as surface hydrophilization, zwitterionic polymer coating, photocatalytic decomposition and electrically enhanced antifouling are reviewed, and their cons and pros for practical applications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-109
Number of pages29
JournalCurrent Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • oily wastewater
  • membrane
  • fouling
  • wettability
  • emulsion


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