Nanoparticle filtration through microporous ECTFE membrane in an alcoholic solution

Na Yao, Boris Khusid, Kamalesh K. Sirkar, Derek J. Dehn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Organic solvent filtration is an important industrial process. It is widely used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, chemical processing industry, semiconductor industry, auto assembly etc. Most of the particle filtration studies reported in open literature dealt with aqueous suspension medium. The current work has initiated a study of cross-flow solvent filtration behavior of microporous ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE) membranes using 12 nm silica nanoparticles suspended in an aqueous solution containing 25% ethanol. In the constant pressure mode of operation of cross-flow microfiltration (MF), permeate samples were collected at different time intervals. The permeate particle size distribution (PSD) results for different experiments were identical. Particle agglomerates having less than 100 nm size can pass through the membrane; some fouling was observed. The governing fouling mechanisms for tests operated using 3.8 × 10−3 kg/m3 (3.8 ppm) at 6.9 × 103 Pag and 1.4 × 104 Pag were pore blocking. For tests conducted using 3.8 × 10−3 kg/m3 (3.8 ppm) at 27.6 × 103 Pag (4 psig) and 1.9 × 10−3 kg/m3 (1.9 ppm) at 6.9 × 103, 13.8 × 103 and 27.6 × 103 Pag (1, 2 and 4 psig), the mechanism was membrane resistance control. Less particles got embedded in membrane pores in experiments operated using suspensions with lower or higher particle concentrations with a higher transmembrane pressure. This is in good agreement with the values of the shear rate in the pore flow and scanning electron microscope images of the membrane after MF. In the dead-end mode of operation of solvent filtration using methanol, ethanol and 2-propanol, the permeate flux behavior follows Jmethanol > Jethanol > J2-propanol at all testing pressures. The values of permeance (kg/m2-s-Pa) determined from the slope of the linear plot of filtration flux vs. the applied pressure difference across the membrane, were 3.9 × 10−4, 2.3 × 10−4 and 3.0 × 10−5 for methanol, ethanol and 2-propanol, respectively. Further exploration was made on solvent sorption results reported earlier. The critical temperature of selected solvents shows a better correlation with solvent sorption rather than the solubility parameter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-763
Number of pages10
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
StatePublished - Feb 8 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


  • Alcoholic solution
  • Cross-flow microfiltration of silica nanoparticles
  • ECTFE membrane
  • Fouling mechanisms
  • Solvent resistant membrane


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