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Comment Separation Processes

Facts at Your Fingertips: Membranes

By Kate Torzewski |

Separation by a membrane is achieved by creating a boundary between different bulk gas or liquid mixtures. As different solvents and solutes flow through a membrane at different rates, separation is achieved. Here, we will focus on three filtration techniques: microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF) and nanofiltration (NF). These processes are characterized by the size of the particle that can be separated by the membrane, as illustrated in the figure. Each membrane type is best suited for unique applications and is designed with the module and material that will allow the best separation. Flow through a membrane is characterized as either tangential flow filtration (TFF), where the feed stream flows at a velocity vector normal to the membrane surface, or normal flow filtration (NFF), where the stream flows tangent to the membrane surface. The flow pattern is dependent on the type of module utilized. NFF modules include: cartridges, stacked disks and flat sheets. TFF modules include: plate-and-frame (cassettes), hollow fibers, tubes, monoliths, spirals and vortex flow. Microfiltration MF separates particles from true solutions. This technique is able to separate particles from about 0.1 to as high as 10 µm. As can be seen…
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