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Chapter 9 - Basic Principles of Ultrafiltration & Microfiltration

Principle of Membrane Filtration

Solute

MEMBRANE

Solvent (water)

Feed DRIVING FORCE

Permeate

What is a membrane?

Membrane filters are thin sheets or tubes made from organic polymers. A membrane has the ability to transport one component more readily than the other because of differences in physical and/or chemical properties between the membrane and the solute.

Transport through the membrane occurs as a result of a driving force (pressure) & the permeation rate is proportional to the force.

MF/UF Polymeric Membranes


Symmetric: membranes have pores of uniform size throughout. Their thickness is ca. 10-200 m (0.01 0.2 mm). Resistance to mass transfer is determined by the total membrane thickness - the thinner the membrane the higher the permeation rate.

MF/UF Polymeric Membranes


Asymmetric: Very dense top layer with a thickness of 0.10.5 m (0.0001 0.0005 mm) supported by a porous sublayer with a thickness of 50-150m. The pores change in size over the depth of the membrane. These membranes combine the high selectivity of a dense membrane with the high permeation rate of a thin membrane.

Cross-section of an asymmetric polysulphone UF membrane

Composite Membranes
Composite membranes are skinned asymmetric membranes. However, the top-layer and the support layer originate from different polymeric materials. The support layer is usually already an asymmetric membrane on which a thin dense layer is deposited (of another material).

MF Membranes
Polymer Materials

Polycarbonate Polyvinylidene fluoride Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, Teflon) Polypropylene Polyamide Cellulose esters Polysulphone Poly(ether-imide)
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UF Membranes
Polymer Materials

Polysulphone/ Polyethersulphone Polyacryonitrile Cellulose esters Polyimide/polyetherimide Polyamide Polyvinylidene fluoride

MF & UF
MF
Pore Size: 0.05-10m Pressure: <2 bar
- S.S, colloids - Bacteria

UF
Pore Size: 1-100nm Pressure: <3 bar
- Particulates - MW>1000

Water - Macromolecules, salt - Virus, Proteins, sugars

Water

- salt - Low MW organics

(MW<1000) 10

What is removed by MF & UF?

Micron Scale (10-3 mm) Typical Size Range of Selected Water Constituents Membrane Process Scale

0.001

0.01

0.1

1.0

10

100

1000

Dissolved Organics Viruses


Salt

Sand

Bacteria

Colloids Media Filtration Microfiltration Ultrafiltration Nanofiltration

Reverse Osmosis
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Applications of MF & UF
Removal of suspended & colloidal matter including algae, cysts, bacteria and viruses

Disinfection of surface water & ground water under the influence of surface water (combined with chlorination).

Production of industrial water from surface water (removal of suspended & colloidal matter).
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Applications of MF & UF

Pre-treatment of feed water (surface water & sea water) for nanofiltration & reverse osmosis systems (usually combined with chlorination).

Production of industrial water from domestic/ industrial WWTP effluent (in combination with reverse osmosis & ion exchange).
Final disinfection in the production of drinking water from domestic waste water.
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Membrane Performance (I)


Membrane Type Microfiltration Ultrafiltration Nanofiltration Reverse Osmosis Suspended Matter (e.g. algae) + + + + Bacteria, Giardia, Crypto + + + + Viruses Natural Organic Matter +/+ +
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+/+ + +

Membrane Performance (II)


Membrane Type Microfiltration Ultrafiltration Nanofiltration Reverse Osmosis Hardness & Sulphate + + Chloride Nitrate Sodium +/+ Pesticides Assimilible Organic Carbon +/--? +/-?

+/+

Assimilable - able to be absorbed and incorporated into body tissues

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Modes of Operation of MF/UF


Dead-End Operation
feed

Cross-flow Operation
feed concentrate

Permeate

Permeate

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Cross-Flow Filtration

Yield Cake Thickness time


High energy consumption due to the high cross flow velocity 1-4 m/s used in cross flow systems
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Dead-End Filtration
Cake Thickness

Yield
time
low energy consumption as a high cross flow velocity is not required - the cake grows during filtration!
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MF/UF Operating Modes


Cross-flow

Dead-end

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MF/UF Flow Regimes Outside-in


Feed water in Filtrate out

Backwash in

Backwash out

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MF/UF Flow Regimes Inside-Out


Feed water in

Filtrate out

RECYCLE OUT

Backwash in

Backwash out

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MF/UF Performance Parameters

Flux : is defined as the volume flowing (Q) through the membrane per unit area (A) and time (t). Flux is expressed as l/m2.hr, l/m2.day, m3/m2.s Selectivity: The selectivity of a membrane is expressed as rejection or retention. If a solute is completely rejected by a membrane, the retention (R) is 100% and if no solute is rejected, retention is 0%.

R = Cfeed - Cpermeate Cfeed

- Cpermeate Cfeed
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Pore size/MWCO
MF membranes are usually rated according to their pore
sizes (0.05-10 m), which can be measured directly by scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

UF membranes are rated according to their Molecular

Weight Cut-Off (MWCO), as the pores are too small (0.1 - 0.001 m) to be measured directly.

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MWCO - measured in Daltons

The MWCO of a membrane is equal to the molecular weight of globular proteins (e.g. albumin, pepsin, cytochrome C) that are 90% rejected by the membrane. Polysaccharides (e.g. dextran) or linear flexible polymers (e.g. polyacrylic acid) can also be used A significant difference can exist in terms of retention between UF membranes with the same MWCO but originating from different manufacturers as a result of the use of different molecular weight markets and test conditions (pH, ionic strength, pressure, temp. etc.)
Globular proteins, or sphero proteins are one of the two main protein classes, comprising "globe"-like proteins that are more or less soluble in aqueous solutions (where they form colloidal solutions). This main characteristic helps distinguishing them from fibrous proteins (the other class), which are practically insoluble.
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Choose the MWCO


Once sample volume is determined, the next step is to select the appropriate MWCO (for ultrafiltration) or pore size (for microfiltration). MWCOs are nominal ratings based on the ability to retain > 90% of a solute of a known molecular weight (in Kilodaltons). For proteins, it is recommended that a MWCO be selected that is three to six times smaller than the molecular weight of the solute being retained. 1 kg = 6.o221415 x 1026 dalton (Da). Da = 1.6609 x 10-27 kg

It is important to recognize that retention of a molecule by a UF membrane is determined by a variety of factors, among which its molecular weight serves only as a general indicator. Therefore, choosing the appropriate MWCO for a specific application requires the consideration of a number of factors including molecular shape, electrical charge, sample concentration, sample composition, and operating conditions. Because different manufacturers use different molecules to define the MWCO of their membranes, it is important to perform pilot experiments to verify membrane performance in a particular application.
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Choose the Molecular Weight Cutoff (MWCO)

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Water Flux
Flux (J) = Driving Force Viscosity . Total Resistance

Driving Force Viscosity Resistance

: Pressure, temperature, concentration : Depends on feed water temperature : Membrane resistance is a function of thickness, pore size, porosity, tortuosity

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Total Resistance

Total membrane resistance comprises: The resistance of the membrane (Rm) The resistance due to particles deposited inside pores or blocking the pore entry (Rb) The resistance due to particles forming a cake (Rc)

Clean Water Flux

F L U X
TIME

Total resistance Rtotal Rm Rb Rc


P P Hence, flux J Rtotal Rm Rb Rc

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Factors Affecting Flux


F L U X

clean water

F L U X

J=

Rm

Pressure F L U X F L U X

Feed Concentration

Recovery

Feed Flow Rate

Temperature

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Videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEfFq _SJ0Pk&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK7UV Y_7K8w&feature=related

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