Cross flow membrane filtration technology has been used widely in industry globally. Filtration membranes can be polymeric or ceramic, depending upon the application. The principles of cross-flow filtration are used in reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, ultrafiltration and microfiltration. When purifying water, it can be very cost effective in comparison to the traditional evaporation methods.
In protein purification, the term Tangential Flow Filtration (TFF) is used to describe cross-flow filtration with membranes. The process can be used at different stages during purification, depending on the type of membrane selected.
In the photograph of an industrial filtration unit (right), it is possible to see that the recycle pipework is considerably larger than either the feed pipework (vertical pipe on the right hand side) or the permeate pipework (small manifolds near to the rows of white clamps). These pipe sizes are directly related to the proportion of liquid flows through the unit. A dedicated pump is used to recycle the feed several times around the unit before the solids-rich retentate is transferred to the next part of the process.
Read more about this topic: Cross-flow Filtration
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