Filter D: Ultrafiltration Membrane
Ultrafiltration (UF) is used to remove essentially all colloidal particles (0.01 to 1.0 microns) from water and some of the largest dissolved contaminants. The pore size in a UF membrane is mainly responsible for determining the type and size of contaminants removed. In general, membrane pores range in size from 0.005 to 0.1 micron. UF membrane manufacturers classify each UF product as having a specific molecular weight cutoff (MWC), which is a rough measurement of the size of contaminants removed by a given UF membrane. A 100,000 MWC UF membrane means that when water containing a given standard compound with a molecular weight of around 100,000 daltons is fed to the UF unit, nearly all of the compound will not pass through the membrane.
Substances with a molecular weight of 100,000 daltons have a size of about 0.05 microns to about 0.08 microns in diameter. UF membranes are used where essentially all colloidal particles (including most pathogenic organisms) must be removed, but most of the dissolved solids may pass through the membrane without causing problems downstream or in the finished water. UF will remove most turbidity from water.
How It Works
Ultrafiltration uses hollow fibers of membrane material and the feed water flows either inside the shell, or in the lumen of the fibers. Suspended solids and solutes of high molecular weight are retained, while water and low molecular weight solutes pass through the membrane. Ultrafiltration is not fundamentally different from reverse osmosis, microfiltration or nanofiltration, except in terms of the size of the molecules it retains. When strategically combined with other purification technologies in a complete water system, UF is ideal for the removal of colloids, proteins, bacteria, pyrogens, proteins, and macromolecules larger than the membrane pore size from water.
- No need for chemicals (coagulants, flocculates, disinfectants, pH adjustment)
- Size-exclusion filtration as opposed to media depth filtration
- Good and constant quality of the treated water in terms of particle and microbial removal
- Process and plant compactness
- Simple automation
- Environmently friendly
What does ultrafiltration remove?