Victaulic Develops Clean EPDM Gasket That Helps Reduce Microbial Growth in Reverse Osmosis Systems
Victaulic, the world's leading manufacturer of mechanical pipe joining systems, has developed a clean EPDM gasket compound that may reduce microbial growth in reverse osmosis (RO) systems.
EASTON, PA (July 19, 2010) – Victaulic, the world's leading manufacturer of mechanical pipe joining systems, has developed a clean EPDM gasket compound that may reduce microbial growth in reverse osmosis (RO) systems. The gasket does not contribute to microbial growth that can clog membranes, thereby reducing costs and plant downtime due to maintenance and replacement of filtration media.
“Although there are multiple causes of membrane biofouling, we think we’ve made significant strides in the elimination of one of those causes,” said Jim Renner, vice president of water system technologies with Victaulic. “We’re proud to be the only company in the mechanical pipe joining industry that does this type of proprietary research and development.”
The development of the new gasket compound was a result of research conducted by the Victaulic research team, which revealed that gaskets commonly used in RO systems can contribute to membrane biofouling through the introduction of nutrients that feed microorganisms. The clean EPDM compound eliminates all possible organic nutrients that support microbial growth and cause membrane biofouling. The new gasket may reduce microbial growth by up to 75 times that of commercially available gasket compounds currently being used.
“Our research was originally focused on potable water systems in Europe and Asia,” said Catsy Lam, product engineer with Victaulic. “However, elastomeric materials such as gaskets, seals and O-rings with wetted surface areas are also present in reverse osmosis systems—notably in couplings connecting the header pipe to membrane pressure vessels—so we realized our findings would have broad implications for RO system operators as well.”
Membrane biofouling is a problem that plant operators have struggled with since the introduction of RO systems. Biofouling occurs when microorganisms, fed by nutrients in the feedstock, clog membranes and prevent the system from operating at peak efficiency. When biofouling occurs, more pressure and therefore more energy is needed to push the water through the membranes. This can damage the equipment as well as require more frequent replacement of filtration media, leading to plant downtime and increased costs.
Victaulic’s research consisted of testing various commercial and R&D gasket compounds to evaluate microbiological resistance using three quantitative methods: biomass volume (W270), mean dissolved oxygen difference (MDOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD). Based on the results, the researchers identified ingredients that do not support microbial growth, and optimized a new compound using those ingredients.
“We’re constantly striving to improve gasket performance,” said Renner. “Our dedicated team of material scientists and engineers will continue to research the effects of gasket compounds in RO and potable water systems, with the goal of developing the most technologically advanced products available.”
Founded in 1925, Victaulic is the world's leading producer of mechanical pipe joining systems. Headquartered in Easton, Pa., Victaulic has manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide and employs more than 3,500 people. The company develops products for a full range of industrial, commercial and institutional piping system applications. For more information, visit www.victaulic.com.