A Crash Course on Membrane Filtration Treatment

Humans use 10 billion tons of fresh water every day. To put things in perspective, that’s not counting the 97.5% of undrinkable saltwater that’s not available for common use.

Membrane filtration treatment currently plays an important role in converting unusable water into something safe for consumption and production. There’s much more to this intricate process than meets the eye.

The materials involved, the types of filtration, and the result of sterilization are all interesting parts to analyze.

Read ahead to find out everything you need to know about membrane filtration.

Membrane Filtration Treatment

Primarily, membrane filtration is used for sterilization in laboratories. At a functional level, different pore sizes are selected depending on the liquid type and particle sizes in them.

The separation of elements from a liquid, like wastewater or groundwater, results in a purified version of the prior along with a byproduct known as the retentate.

Types of Membrane Filtration

Pore size is the determiner for the different types of membrane filtration treatment options. This, in turn, decides the use for each. Where one works for creating purified water, others are needed in the medical industry for treatments.

These are the different types of membrane filtration:

  • Microfiltration
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Nanofiltration


This type of filter can stop particles between 0.1 and 10 micrometers from following a liquid in the process. It’s primarily used for separating pathogens.


This filter’s pores permit particles between 0.1 and 0.01 micrometers. This is the process used for producing potable water.


The nanofiltration membrane has pores with a diameter between 0.001 and 0.01 micrometers. Scientists can use it to separate blood from its lipids and amino acids.

Reverse Osmosis

Membranes involved in reverse osmosis have the smallest pores, ranging between 0.0001 and 0.001 micrometers. The only particles that can pass through are those of water, meaning it succeeds in retaining all other substances.

Materials and Parts Involved

Most types of membrane filtration share the same components. They’re specifically designed for a purpose and almost impossible to replace with alternatives. The only parts you can swap out are for different particle sizes.

The membrane filter, also known as a molecular or biological filter, is composed of high tensile polymers. These are built with cellulose nitrate, cellulose acetate, or polysulfone.

In terms of parts for filtration units, from top to bottom you’ll find:

  • Funnel
  • Locking ring
  • Forcep
  • Membrane filter
  • Stainless base
  • Rubber stopper
  • Vacuum pump
  • Filter flask

A Process Present in Many Industries

Learning about the ins and outs of membrane filtration treatment is not only interesting but also key for better understanding some industries. Surprisingly enough, some can be used in home improvement.

Beyond the differences in pore sizes, membrane filtration depends heavily on proper equipment. It’s expensive, sure, but the value it provides to so many industries is worth the cost.

Did you enjoy this post and learn something new? Check out the other articles on our site for more fascinating and educational information!