Survey of Nanofiltration Process Efficiency in Pb, Cd, Cr+6 and Cu Ions Removal from Sulfate-Containing Waters

Document Type : Research Paper



Heavy metals have been identified as major pollutants and also as one of the most serious environmental hazards. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of NF membrane to remove the heavy metals Pb, Cd, Cu and Cr+6 from waters containing sulfate. The membrane used in this study was of the NF, spiral-wounded model with a MWCO equal to 27Da, a cross-flowed stream, and a nominal capacity of 0.8 L/min. The effects of the parameters initial metal concentration (within the range of 5 to 50 mg/L for Pb, Cd, and Cu and 0.1 to 0.4mg/L for Cr+6 at four different concentrations), pH (4-9), flow rate (0.2, 0.4, 0.6, and 0.8 mg/L), and sulfate anion concentration (four concentrations ranging from 200 to 800 mg/L) on heavy metal removal efficiency of the membrane were investigated. Measurements were performed using atomic absorption and spectrophotometry. The maximum removal rates of Pb, Cd, Cu and Cr+6 for synthetic samples under optimal experimental conditions were 91, 97, 98, and 95%, and those for real samples were 72, 53, 87, and 99%, respectively. It was observed that the membrane efficiency for removing the three metals of Pb, Cd, and Cu decreased with increasing pH and initial metal concentration while it increased in the case of Cr+6. Increasing flow to 0.6 L/min led to a slight increase in membrane removal efficiency for all the four metals. Based on the results obtained, NF membranes are capable of removing a high percentage of heavy metals and a significant increase is observed in their heavy metal removal efficiency in the presence of sulfate ions and with increasing flow up to a certain level.


Main Subjects

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