Effects of ultrasound on ultrafiltration of Radix astragalus extract and cleaning of fouled membrane

Ming Cai, Sanju Wang, Yongping Zheng, Hanhua Liang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of ultrasound (US) on the ultrafiltration (UF) of a natural product, Radix astragalus (RA) aqueous extract, and the cleaning process of fouled membrane. Specifically, the effects of ultrasonic frequency, power and irradiation mode on flux and resistances in UF processes were investigated. Ultrasonic irradiation had a strong impact on the normal UF process of RA extracts, especially with low frequency and high output power. An enhancement of 12-15% in permeate flux was observed when US at effective power of 10 W and frequency of 28 or 45 kHz was used. When irradiated with an US power of 120 W, the fluxes increased dramatically with the increased ultrasonic intensity, nearly 70% higher in flux than those with stirring only. The intermittent irradiation mode was desirable not only for its effective flux enhancement, but also for lowering energy consumption. Upon ultrasonic irradiation, the reversible resistance, including concentration polarization and cake layer, was sufficiently reduced as revealed by the quantitative resistance analysis using resistance-in-series model. The employment of US in both mechanical and chemical cleaning processes for fouled membranes resulted in a much higher flux recovery, especially at low frequency and high power setups. The application of US is an effective and promising approach to enhance the UF process for natural products, and for both mechanical and chemical cleaning of fouled membranes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-356
Number of pages6
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2009


  • Membrane cleaning
  • Radix astragalus extracts
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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