Effect of surface-exposed chemical groups on calcium-phosphate mineralization in water-treatment systems

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43 Scopus citations


Calcium-phosphate-scale formation on reverse osmosis (RO) membranes is a major limiting factor for cost-effective desalination of wastewater. We determined the effects of various organic chemical groups found on membrane surfaces on calcium-phosphate scaling. Langmuir films exposing different functional groups were equilibrated with a solution simulating the ionic profile of secondary effluent (SSE). Surface pressure-area (Langmuir) isotherms combined with ICP elemental analyses of the interfacial precipitate suggested acceleration of calcium-phosphate mineralization by the surface functional groups in the order: PO4 > COOH ∼ NH2 > COOH:NH2 (1:1) > OH > ethylene glycol. Immersion of gold-coated silicon wafers self-assembled with different alkanethiols in SSE solution showed formation of a hydroxyapatite precipitate by X-ray diffraction and ATR-IR analysis. Data showed diverse influences of functional groups on mineralization, implying low calcium-phosphate scaling for uncharged surfaces or surfaces coated with both positively and negatively charged groups. This information is valuable for understanding scaling processes, and for designing of novel low-scaling membranes for water desalination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7937-7943
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number20
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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