What is Membrane Used for?

As we know there are different types of filter membranes available in the market, such as PP filter membranes, PVDF filter membranes, PES filter membranes, Nylon filter membranes, microporous glass fiber membrane filter, and MCE filter membranes, and so on. Also, each type can be subdivided into more specific ones, like from the pore size. Regardless of pore size, it is important to understand that use conditions do affect particle retention. Even filters with a pore size rating can operate under conditions that allow the passage of particles larger than expected. The commonly used membranes are round shapes, combined with the syringe filter or Buchner funnel. Here is a brief introduction to the filter membranes. Today, HAWACH would like to discuss one of the main applications of the microporous membranes-water sample pretreatment.

Workers engaged in water quality analysis should be aware that unless the water sample is to be analyzed immediately, appropriate pretreatment must be performed before the water sample is stored. Pretreatment is mainly determined according to the different requirements of the water sample to be measured, and filtration is a commonly used pretreatment method.

0.45um ptfe membrane filter PTFE membrane filter filter membrane

Membranes are thin, selective barriers or sheets of material that play a crucial role in various applications across different fields. The use of membranes is diverse, and their properties make them suitable for a wide range of functions. Here are some common applications of membranes:

  1. Filtration and Separation:
    • Microfiltration (MF): Membranes are used for the separation of particles and microorganisms from liquids.
    • Ultrafiltration (UF): Used for the removal of larger molecules, proteins, and colloids.
    • Nanofiltration (NF): Applied in the separation of ions and small molecules.
    • Reverse Osmosis (RO): Membranes are used to remove salts, contaminants, and other solutes from water.
  2. Water Purification:
    • Membrane technologies such as reverse osmosis and nanofiltration are employed for the purification of drinking water, desalination of seawater, and wastewater treatment.
  3. Biomedical Applications:
    • Hemodialysis: Membranes are used in artificial kidneys for the removal of waste products from the blood.
    • Drug Delivery: Membrane-based systems are used for controlled drug release in pharmaceutical applications.
  4. Gas Separation:
    • Membranes are utilized for separating gases based on their molecular sizes. This is used in applications such as nitrogen generation, natural gas purification, and carbon capture.
  5. Lab Filtration:
    • In laboratories, membranes are used in various filtration processes, such as syringe filters for sample preparation, sterile filtration, and clarification of solutions.
  6. Battery Technology:
    • Membranes play a crucial role in batteries, particularly in fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries, where they separate different electrolyte components.
  7. Food and Beverage Industry:
    • Membranes are used for the clarification and concentration of fruit juices, the decaffeination of coffee, and the production of dairy products.
  8. Environmental Protection:
    • Membrane technologies are employed in the treatment of industrial effluents, the removal of contaminants from groundwater, and the recovery of valuable substances from waste streams.
  9. Oil and Gas Industry:
    • Membranes are used for gas separation, such as the removal of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide from natural gas.
  10. Vapor Permeation:
    • Membranes are used in vapor permeation processes for the separation and concentration of volatile components from liquid or gas mixtures.
  11. Air Purification:
    • Membranes can be employed in air purification systems, including HVAC systems, to filter out particulate matter and contaminants.
  12. Electrochemical Cells:
    • Membranes are used in various electrochemical devices, including fuel cells and electrolyzers, to separate reactants and products.
  13. Chemical Processing:
    • Membranes find applications in chemical industries for processes such as solvent recovery, concentration, and purification.

The versatility of membranes arises from their ability to selectively allow certain substances to pass through while restricting others. The choice of membrane material and structure depends on the specific application requirements, including the size, charge, and chemical nature of the substances being separated.

1. The necessity of water sample pretreatment

In unfiltered samples, there is a potential for changes in the chemical speciation distribution of heavy metals in the sample due to interactions between particulate matter and other substances dissolved in the sample. The researchers found that the adsorption-desorption equilibrium time of heavy metals in the mixture of sediment and water is very fast, generally not more than three days, and the maximum adsorption occurs at pH=7.5. After sampling, any change in solution equilibrium, adsorption sites provided by particulate matter will provide pathways for the migration of metal species, and under certain conditions desorption of adsorbed metals is possible.

Usually, for trace element or organic analysis, the particulate matter in the water sample must first be removed by filtration or centrifugation (if the pollutants in the particulate matter are determined, this part of the sample needs to be collected), and then a protective agent is added, and the water sample is placed in a Store in a non-contaminated container and at a suitable temperature to prevent loss, degradation or morphological change of the active ingredient.

High bacterial concentrations accompanied by the presence of sediments also lead to the loss of water-soluble metal species. The growth of bacteria and algae, including photosynthesis and oxidation, will change the content of CO2 in the water sample and thus lead to changes in pH, which often lead to precipitation, changes in chelation or adsorption behavior, and redox of metal ions in solution. effect. Due to the unpredictable nature of bacterial growth and reproduction in stored samples, the earlier post-sampling filtration, the better. If the time is delayed beyond a few hours, the samples are cryopreserved or acidified to inhibit bacterial growth.

2. Selection of test equipment

The 0.45μm microporous membrane can easily distinguish dissolved matter and particulate matter, and the filtrate passing through the filter membrane may also contain 0.1-0.001μm colloidal particles of microorganisms and bacteria and components less than 0.001μm dissolved in water. The 0.45μm membrane can filter out all phytoplankton and most bacteria. Continuous filtration may sometimes cause blockage of the filter membrane, at this time, it is generally necessary to replace a new membrane or use pressure filtration.

When using filter instruments, attention should be paid to the material of the parts of the instrument in contact with the solution, as well as the type of filter (vacuum or pressurized). The use of rubber plugs for glass filters is easy to cause contamination. Generally, a vacuum filtration system using borosilicate glass is selected. Before filtration, the filter equipment should be washed with dilute acid, usually soaked in 1-3 mol/L hydrochloric acid.

The surface of the untreated filter membrane is very easy to adsorb cadmium and lead in water, but when it is used to filter river water, no changes in the concentrations of the above elements are found. The use of untreated membranes to filter mercury-containing samples from seawater samples may result in losses of 10% to 30%. However, with treated glass fiber filtration, mercury losses can be reduced to less than 7%. The general filter membrane is washed with 20 mL of 2mol/L HNO3 before use and then washed with 50 to 100 mL of distilled water. The receiving beaker or Erlenmeyer flask must be rinsed with distilled water with acid. The 10-20 mL of the filtrate collected at the beginning was removed. For filtration of marine deep water samples. The filter membrane is first soaked with dilute nitric acid.

Pressure filtration or vacuum filtration are two commonly used methods. The pressure filtration speed is fast, and it is suitable for filtering river water samples containing a large amount of sediment. If the water sample is filtered with a φ50mm and 0.45μm membrane, the speed is about 100mL/h. Ultrafiltration membrane is usually used for pressure filtration.