Membrane Process

Membrane Process

Membranes are commonly used at various stages in the water treatment process, but what exactly is a membrane process? It’s any method that relies on a membrane to filter or remove particles from water.

Membranes are commonly used at various stages in the water treatment process, but what exactly is a membrane process? It’s any method that relies on a membrane to filter or remove particles from water.



Reverse osmosis:

Reverse osmosis reverses the process. Pressure is used to force a pure solvent through a semi-permeable membrane. Water typically passes easily through membranes because its molecules are small. The pore size of a reverse osmosis filter is general 0.0001 of a micron. Reverse osmosis is most often used for desalination of seawater and brackish water for potable and industrial applications, but also for wastewater treatment and water reuse. It can also be used to remove trace phosphates, calcium, heavy metals, and other substances.

Ultrafiltration:

Another membrane process is ultrafiltration. These membranes have a filter size of between roughly 0.1 and 0.01 microns. This allows for the retention of proteins, fatty acids, macromolecules, bacteria, and suspended solids in a liquid. In water treatment, the ultrafiltration process is able to remove bacteria, protozoa, and some viruses from the water..

Combined Treatments:

Often these processes can be used in combination to provide a comprehensive water treatment solution. One example is the Central Puerto facility in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which needed to treat river water before it was used in its industrial equipment. Ultrafiltration was used in combination with reverse osmosis to create demineralized water for the plant’s high-pressure boiler. The ultrafiltration process helped resolve issues the operation previously experienced with membrane fouling. Mine water treatment is another example application for these combined processes. The wastewater from mining operations is extremely high in total suspended solids and colloids. Ultrafiltration can remove these particles to prepare it for treatment with reverse osmosis. In some cases, the water is passed through reverse osmosis twice to reach the needed final specifications for full water treatment..

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