Key Laboratory of Drinking Water Science and Technology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 18, Shuangqing Road, Beijing 100085, China; State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Membrane filtration combined with pre-coagulation has advantages in advanced wastewater treatment. As a model of a microbial polysaccharide, research on the effect of sodium alginate (SA) on alum hydrolysis has been rare; therefore, it is necessary to gain insight into the interface interaction between SA molecules and Al species, and the role SA plays during floc formation. In this study, the interaction mechanism between SA and Al species has been investigated, by evaluating the effect of SA on floc characteristics and membrane fouling during coagulation-ultrafiltration with different Al species coagulants (AlCl3 and preformed Al13). Al 2p X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) confirmed that the complexation of ligands and Al species strongly affects the reaction pathways for Al hydrolysis and the final nature of the flocs, as Al13 can be decomposed into octahedral precipitates when SA is added. The presence of SA can affect floc properties, which have important impacts on the characteristics of the cake layer and membrane fouling. Due to the bridging ability of SA, the floc strength increased by about 50% using Ala, which was much better than preformed Al13, with a percentage increase of only about 6%. Moreover, the recovery factor of HA-flocs was decreased from 96% to 43% with SA addition of 0.5 mg/L. It was concluded that SA can affect the characteristics of the cake layer and membrane fouling through participating in the formation of primary flocs and altering the Al hydrolysis pathway.