Particle back-transport and permeate flux behavior in crossflow membrane filters
Particle residence time distributions in a membrane channel are interpreted to elucidate mechanisms of particle transport end colloidal fouling in membrane filtration. A comparison of particle size distributions in the membrane feed suspensions and deposited cakes provides evidence for selective particle transport and accumulation on membranes. These data support a previously hypothesized minimum in particle back-transport from the membrane as a function of particle size. The back-transport of smaller particles is apparently due to Brownian diffusion, while larger macrocolloids are controlled by an orthokinetic mechanism such as shear-induced diffusion. In all cases, cake specific resistances measured in the dead-end mode were higher than those of the corresponding feed suspensions. Also, cake specific resistances measured under a crossflow were higher than those in the dead- end mode. Further, the specific resistance of particle deposits on membranes increased with sheer rate and decreased as the initial permeation rate increased, suggesting that cake morphology is an important parameter in determining permeate flux. Thus, the effects of hydrodymamics on cake resistance needs to be established before a comprehensive model for crossflow filtration can be derived.
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