Reverse osmosis (RO) membranes can be used to treat ground water, surface water and wastewater, but a major problem in RO membrane applications is fouling. Many studies have investigated the mechanisms of fouling in RO membranes and suggested various methods to control the membrane fouling. This paper reviews several aspects of RO membranes, such as the types of membrane fouling, their effects on RO membrane processes and fouling control technologies, focussed on the appropriate feed pretreatment technologies and cleaning methods, especially on the membrane filtration pretreatment processes, including microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF) and nanofiltration (NF), which are the new trends in designing a pretreatment system in the application of RO.
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