Membrane Filtration

Tthe most mature membrane technology is pressure driven membrane filtration. This depend on liquid being forced through a filter membrane with a high surface area. There are four basic pressure driven membrane filtration processes for liquid separations. These are, in ascending order of size of particle that can be separated: reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, ultrafiltration and microfiltration. As shown in the diagram here.

A membrane is a thin layer of semi-permeable material that separates substances when a driving force is applied across the membrane. Membrane processes are increasingly used for removal of bacteria, microorganisms, particulates, and natural organic material, which can impart color, tastes, and odors to water and react with disinfectants to form disinfection byproducts.

The membrane processes discussed here are microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF),Membrane Filtration provides a barrier with a specified pore size. Flow rates are affected by the filter membrane (barrier). Membrane filtration can be categorized in the following manner:

Nanofiltration: Nanofiltration membranes have a nominal pore size of approximately 0.001 microns and an MWCO of 1,000 to 100,000 daltons. Pushing water through these smaller membrane pores requires a higher operation pressure than either MF or UF. Operating pressures are usually near 600 kPa (90psi) and can be as high as 1,000 kPa (150psi)

Ultrafiltration: has a pore size of approximately 0.002 to 0.1 microns, an MWCO of approximately 10,000 to 100,000 daltons, and an operating pressure of approximately 200 to 700 kPa (30 to 100 psi).

Microfiltration: Microfiltration is loosely defined as a membrane separation process using membranes with a pore size of approximately 0.03 to 10 micronas (1 micron = 0.0001 millimeter), a molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) of greater than 1000,000 daltons and a relatively low feed water operating pressure of approximately 100 to 400 kPa (15 to 60psi) Microfiltration works under lower differential pressures than ultra filtration.

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