Comparative Study between Nanofiltration and Reverse Osmosis Membranes for the Removal of Heavy Metals from Electroplating Wastewater

  • Ahmed Faiq Al-Alawy, Ass. Prof. Dr. College of Engineering-University of Baghdad
  • Miqat Hasan Salih, MSc student College of Engineering-University of Baghdad
Keywords: nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, electroplating wastewater.


The present work aimed to study the efficiency of nanofiltration (NF) and reverseosmosis (RO) process for water recovery from electroplating wastewater and study the factors affecting the performance of two membrane processes. Nanofiltration and reverse osmosismembranes are made from polyamide as spiral wound module. The inorganic materials ZnCl 2 CuCl2 .2H2O, NiCl.2.6H2O and CrCl3.6H2O were used as feed solutions. The operating parametersstudied were: operating time, feed concentrations for heavy metal ions, operating pressure, feed flow rate, feed temperature and feed pH. The experimental results showed, the permeateconcentration increased and water flux decreased with increase in time from 0 to 70 min. Thepermeate concentrations increased and flux  decreased with increase in feed concentrations from 10 to 300 mg/l. Raising of pressure from 1 to 4 bar, permeate concentration decreased for ROfor NF decreased and then increased at high pressure and increase the flux. The rises of flow ratefrom 20 to 50 l/h decreased permeate concentration and the flux increase. The rises oftemperature from 26 to 40 °C, increased permeate concentration and increased the flux. The risein pH from 4 to 7, decreased the flux as the pH goes from acidic side towards alkaline. Thepolyamide nanofiltration membrane had allowed permeation of chromium and copper ions tolower than permissible limits. Nanofiltration membrane had allowed permeation of nickel andzinc ions at low concentration of these ions. The polyamide RO membrane gave a highefficiency for removal of chromium, copper, nickel and zinc and it had allowed permeation ofthese ions to the lower than permissible limits. The rejection at first three minutes when the feed concentration approximately was constant for chromium in NF and RO, was 99.7% and 99.93%for copper was 98.43% and 99.33%, for zinc was 97.96% and 99.49%, and for nickel was97.18% and 99.49% respectively. The maximum recovery for chromium in NF and RO was
71.75% and 48.5%, for copper was 75.62% and 50.68%, for zinc was 80.87% and 54.56%, fornickel was 60.06% and 46.18% respectively. For a mixture of synthetic electroplating wastewater, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membranes have a high rejection percentage for heavy metal ions. It was obtained pure water and concentrations of less than allowable limits forheavy metals in the case of the mixture.  


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How to Cite
Al-Alawy, A. and Salih, M. (2017) “Comparative Study between Nanofiltration and Reverse Osmosis Membranes for the Removal of Heavy Metals from Electroplating Wastewater”, Journal of Engineering, 23(4), pp. 1-21. Available at: (Accessed: 20September2020).