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Vol. 418, 2017, Pages: 19-34

The application of electromagnetic fields to the control of the scaling and biofouling of reverse osmosis membranes - A review

Katsuhiko Sano, Hideyuki Kanematsu,Nobumitsu Hirai, Akiko Ogawa,Takeshi Kougo, Toshihiro Tanaka

D & D Corporation, 7870-21 Sakura-cho, Yokkaichi, Mie Pref. 512-1211, Japan.


Thus far, biofouling on material surfaces has been investigated from various viewpoints, and concrete methods for its evaluation have been proposed. Biofilms, which are formed by bacterial activities, are essential components of biofouling. They play an important role in the occurrence of biofouling on the materials of structures, which leads to serious economic loss. Therefore, the establishment of countermeasures for biofilm formation and its control are needed urgently. In addition, appropriate evaluation techniques to measure biofilm formation are required. Thus far, we have used scientific evaluation devices and techniques such as an optical microscope and Raman spectroscopy to evaluate biofouling/biofilms. In this study, we used the silane coating of dispersed silver and copper nanopowder rather than that of dispersed organometals. Specimens were immersed into a laboratory biofilm reactor. Then, the biofouling behavior on the sheets was investigated using an optical microscope, Raman spectroscopy, a focused ion beam system (FIB), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The optical-microscope observations showed many deposits on the specimens without any metallic dispersions. Although the amount of deposits on the specimens decreased with copper dispersions, many deposits were still observed on them with silver dispersion. These deposits were not confirmed by Raman spectroscopy because of the surface plasmon resonance of silver. Next, we observed and analyzed the specimens using the FIB system (combination of FIB–SEM and EDX) instead of Raman spectroscopy. The SEM image showed that the deposition had formed pores and irregularities on the specimens. FIB–SEM confirmed the existence of deposition on coating layers and revealed that it originated from biooraganisms. Based on these experiments, we could conclude that the structure of antifouling coating could be observed and analyzed using a combination of FIB–SEM and EDX even when other analysis methods are not useful because of various reasons.

Keywords: Biofouling, Biofilm, Silane-based resin, Focused ion beam, Raman spectroscopy.

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