Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Civil and Environmental Engineering


College of Engineering and Computing

First Advisor

Yeomin Yoon


The performance of an ultrafiltration (UF)-biochar process was evaluated in comparison with a UF membrane process for the removal of humic acid (HA). Bench-scale UF experiments were conducted to study the rejection and flux trends under various hydrodynamic, pH, conductivity, and pressure conditions. The resistance-in-series model was used to evaluate the processes and it showed that unlike stirred conditions, where low fouling resistance was observed, comparable trends were obtained for UF-biochar and UF alone for unstirred conditions. Thus, the processes were further evaluated under unstirred conditions. Additionally, total fouling resistance was decreased in the presence of biochar, indicating that HA adsorption by biochar could significantly diminish adsorption fouling on the UF membrane and thus improve the efficiency of the UF-biochar process. The rejection trends of UF-biochar and UF alone were similar in most cases, whereas UF-biochar showed a noticeable increase in flux due to reduced membrane fouling. Three-cycle filtration tests further demonstrated that UF-biochar showed better membrane recovery and antifouling capability and thus may potentially prove be a viable treatment option for the removal of HA from water.


© 2016, Vaibhavi Shankar