Scaling propensity of seawater in RO boron removal processes

David Hasson*, Hilla Shemer, Irina Brook, Irina Zaslavschi, Raphael Semiat, Craig Bartels, Mark Wilf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Boron contamination of permeate in seawater RO desalination is commonly prevented by increase of the concentrate pH level in a rather elaborate multi-pass processing system. The reason for this cumbersome processing is the need to control the scale precipitation tendency induced by the pH increase. The lack of sufficient information on the scaling propensity of seawater at various supersaturation levels hampers optimal design of boron controlled processes. The main objective of the present work was to provide scaling propensity data so as to assist design of boron reduction processes and explore the possibility of boron control by a single pass RO process. Membrane tests were conducted to determine induction periods and scaling threshold limits with and without an anti-scalant. The tests were carried out on Pacific Ocean seawater concentrates of 0% and 50% permeate recovery with both the presence or absence of Mg ions using either a continuous tubular flow or a spiral wound flow system. Results suggest that the concept of a single pass RO has a potential for simplifying the present rather cumbersome flow sheets of boron controlled processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-204
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Induction time
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Scaling potential
  • Single pass
  • Upper threshold limit

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