There are several different membrane cleaning methods, such as forward flush, backward flush and air flush.
When forward flush is applied, membranes are flushed with feed water or permeate forward. The feed water or permeate flows through the system more rapidly than during the production phase. Because of the more rapid flow and the resulting turbulence, particles that are absorbed to the membrane are released and discharged. The particles that are absorbed to membrane pores are not released. These particles can only be removed through backward flushing.
Backward flush is a reversed filtration process. Permeate is flushed through the feed water side of the system under pressure, applying twice the flux that is used during filtration. When the flux has not restored itself sufficiently after back flushing, a chemical cleaning process can be applied.
During a chemical cleaning process, membranes are soaked with a solution of chemicals. First the solution soaks into the membranes for a number of minutes and after that a forward flush or backward flush is applied, causing the contaminants to be rinsed out.
A newer cleaning method is the so-called air flush or air/ water flush. This is a forward flush during which air is injected in the supplier pipe. Because air is used (while the water speed remains the same), a much more turbulent cleaning system is created.
When forward flush is applied in a membrane, the barrier that is responsible for dead-end management is opened. At the same time the membrane is temporarily performing cross-flow filtration, without the production of permeate. The purpose of a forward flush is the removal of a constructed layer of contaminants on the membrane through the creation of turbulence. A high hydraulic pressure gradient is in order during forward flush.
When backward flush is applied the pores of a membrane are flushed inside out. The pressure on the permeate side of the membrane is higher than the pressure within the membranes, causing the pores to be cleaned. A backward flush is executed under a pressure that is a bout 2.5 times greater than the production pressure.Permeate is always used for a backward flush.
Fouling on the membrane surface needs to be removed as effectively as possible during backward flush with air has proved to be very useful to perform this process. Using air flush means flushing the inside of membranes with an air/ water mixture.During an air flush air is added to the forward flush, causing air bubbles to form, which cause a higher turbulence. Because of this turbulence the fouling is removed from the membrane surface. The benefit of the air flush over the forward flush is that it uses a smaller pumping capacity during the cleaning process.
OFF AND ONSITE CLEANING PROGRAM
Dew can provide on/off-site membrane cleaning services using the customer's clean-in-place (CIP) skid and standard cleaning procedures. Our Dew field service technicians are trained to provide the on-site labor required and/or to supervise personnel, along with the necessary cleaning chemicals.
The results of off-site cleaning are dramatically different from conventional on-site cleaning. Our specially designed off-site membrane cleaning facilities provide better cleaning, extend reverse osmosis membrane life and is more cost effective than on-site cleaning. This off-site membrane cleaning process is specifically designed to restore RO membranes to or near the original manufacturer's performance specifications. Our proprietary equipment and strict cleaning process ensures optimum cleaning performance without affecting the structural integrity of the membrane, and therefore, does not void the manufacturer's warranty.
Features and Benefits of On/Off-site Membrane Cleaning