Microfiltration is a filtration process that uses filters with pore sizes from 0.1 to 10 micrometers to remove particles and bacteria from water or other liquids. It is commonly used in water treatment applications, pharmaceutical and food industries, among others. It is considered an intermediate form of filtration, between coarse filtration and ultrafiltration.
Its working process is quite simple. The liquid to be filtered is pumped through the filter, where particles and bacteria present in the liquid are trapped on the surface or within the pores of the filter. The filtered water or liquid is then released from the other side of the filter.
There are different types of microfiltration filters, such as membrane filters, which are composed of a thin layer of porous material such as polyester, cellulose or polypropylene, and ceramic filters, which are composed of tiny pores in a ceramic structure.
The filter should be cleaned periodically to remove accumulated particles to ensure process efficiency and extend filter life. This is usually done through washing processes such as compressed air washing, chemical washing or mechanical washing, depending on the type of filter and the liquid to be filtered.
Microfiltration offers several benefits, including:
- Efficient removal of particles and bacteria: Microfiltration is capable of removing particles and bacteria from 0.1 to 10 micrometers in size, which is useful for purifying water or other liquids.
- High flow capacity: Microfiltration can handle high flow rates, making it suitable for industrial and community applications.
- Easy to Use and Maintain: Microfiltration is a simple process that is easy to operate, and microfiltration filters are generally easy to clean and maintain.
- Low operating cost: It is generally more economical than other filtration methods such as ultrafiltration or reverse osmosis.
- Microbiological safety: Microfiltration can be used to remove pathogenic microorganisms from water and other liquids, which increases the microbiological safety of the treated liquid.
- Preservation of nutrients and minerals: Microfiltration does not remove minerals and nutrients present in the water, unlike other filtration processes.
Microfiltration is widely used in a variety of applications, including:
- Water treatment: Microfiltration is commonly used to purify water for drinking and industrial use. It can be used to remove particles, bacteria and other contaminants from water.
- Food and pharmaceutical industry: Microfiltration is used to purify and sterilize liquids in food and pharmaceutical applications such as the production of milk, beer, wine, juices and liquid medicines.
- Aquaculture: Microfiltration is used to remove particles and bacteria from fish farming water and improve water quality for fish.
- Water reuse: Microfiltration is used to treat water for reuse, such as in agriculture, gardening and cleaning buildings.
- Chemical Industry: Microfiltration is used to purify liquids and remove impurities in chemical applications such as the production of paints, adhesives, detergents and other chemicals.
- Effluent treatment: Microfiltration is used to treat industrial and residential effluents before being released into the environment.