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Nanofiltration
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Nanofiltrationisarelativelyrecentmembranefiltrationprocessused
mostoftenwithlowtotaldissolvedsolidswatersuchassurfacewater Waterdesalination
andfreshgroundwater,withthepurposeofsoftening(polyvalentcation
removal)andremovalofdisinfectionbyproductprecursorssuchas Methods
naturalorganicmatterandsyntheticorganicmatter.[1][2] Distillation
Multistageflash
Nanofiltrationisalsobecomingmorewidelyusedinfoodprocessing distillation(MSF)
applicationssuchasdairy,forsimultaneousconcentrationandpartial Multipleeffect
(monovalention)demineralisation. distillation(MED|ME)
Vaporcompression(VC)
Ionexchange
Membraneprocesses
Contents Electrodialysisreversal
(EDR)
1 General Reverseosmosis(RO)
2 Rangeofapplications Nanofiltration(NF)
3 Advantagesanddisadvantages Membranedistillation
4 Designandoperation (MD)
4.1 ConcentrationPolarisation Forwardosmosis(FO)
4.2 SpiralWoundModule Freezingdesalination
4.3 TubularModule Geothermaldesalination
4.4 FluxEnhancingStrategies Solardesalination
5 Characterisation Solarhumidification
5.1 PerformanceParameters dehumidification(HDH)
5.2 MorphologyParameters Multipleeffect
6 Typicalfiguresforindustrialapplications humidification(MEH)
7 Posttreatment Methanehydratecrystallization
7.1 Aeration Highgradewaterrecycling
7.2 Disinfection&Stabilisation Seawatergreenhouse
8 NewDevelopments
9 Seealso
10 References
11 Externallinks

General
Nanofiltrationisamembranefiltrationbasedmethodthatusesnanometersizedcylindricalthroughporesthatpass
throughthemembraneat90.Nanofiltrationmembraneshaveporesizesfrom110nanometers,smallerthanthat
usedinmicrofiltrationandultrafiltration,butjustlargerthanthatinreverseosmosis.Membranesusedare
predominantlycreatedfrompolymerthinfilms.Materialsthatarecommonlyuseincludepolyethylene
terephthalateormetalssuchasaluminum.[3]PoredimensionsarecontrolledbypH,temperatureandtimeduring
developmentwithporedensitiesrangingfrom1to106porespercm2.Membranesmadefrompolyethylene
terephthalateandothersimilarmaterials,arereferredtoastracketchmembranes,namedafterthewaythepores
onthemembranesaremade.[4]Trackinginvolvesbombardingthepolymerthinfilmwithhighenergyparticles.

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Thisresultsinmakingtracksthatarechemicallydevelopedintothemembrane,oretchedintothemembrane,
whicharethepores.Membranescreatedfrommetalsuchasaluminamembranes,aremadebyelectrochemically
growingathinlayerofaluminumoxidefromaluminummetalinanacidicmedium.

Rangeofapplications
Historically,nanofiltrationandothermembranetechnologyusedformolecularseparationwasappliedentirelyon
aqueoussystems.Theoriginalusesfornanofiltrationwerewatertreatmentandinparticularwatersoftening.
Nanofilterscansoftenwaterbyretainingscaleforming,hydrateddivalentions(e.g.Ca2+,Mg2+)whilepassing
smallerhydratedmonovalentions.[5]

Inrecentyears,theuseofnanofiltrationhasbeenextendedintootherindustriessuchasmilkandjuiceproduction.
Researchanddevelopmentinsolventstablemembraneshasallowedtheapplicationfornanofiltrationmembranes
toextendintonewareassuchaspharmaceuticals,finechemicals,andflavourandfragranceindustries.[5]
Developmentinorganicsolventnanofiltrationtechnologyandcommercializationofmembranesusedhasextended
possibilitiesforapplicationsinavarietyoforganicsolventsrangingfromnonpolarthroughpolartopolaraprotic.

Industry Uses
Nonthermalsolventrecoveryandmanagement
FinechemistryandPharmaceuticals
Roomtemperaturesolventexchange

Removaloftarcomponentsinfeed
OilandPetroleumchemistry
Purificationofgascondensates

ProductPolishing
BulkChemistry
Continuousrecoveryofhomogeneouscatalysts

Fractionationofcrudeextracts
NaturalEssentialOilsandsimilar
products EnrichmentofnaturalcompoundsGentleSeparations

Abletoextractaminoacidsandlipidsfrombloodandothercell
Medicine
culture.

Advantagesanddisadvantages
Oneofthemainadvantagesofnanofiltrationasamethodofsofteningwateristhatduringtheprocessofretaining
calciumandmagnesiumionswhilepassingsmallerhydratedmonovalentions,filtrationisperformedwithout
addingextrasodiumions,asusedinionexchangers.[6]Manyseparationprocessesdonotoperateatroom
temperature(e.g.distillation),whichgreatlyincreasesthecostoftheprocesswhencontinuousheatingorcoolingis
applied.Performinggentlemolecularseparationislinkedwithnanofiltrationthatisoftennotincludedwithother
formsofseparationprocesses(centrifugation).Thesearetwoofthemainbenefitsthatareassociatedwith
nanofiltration.Nanofiltrationhasaveryfavorablebenefitofbeingabletoprocesslargevolumesandcontinuously
producestreamsofproducts.Still,Nanofiltrationistheleastusedmethodofmembranefiltrationinindustryasthe
membraneporessizesarelimitedtoonlyafewnanometers.Anythingsmaller,reverseosmosisisusedand
anythinglargerisusedforultrafiltration.Ultrafiltrationcanalsobeusedincaseswherenanofiltrationcanbeused,
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duetoitbeingmoreconventional.Amaindisadvantageassociatedwithnanotechnology,aswithallmembrane
filtertechnology,isthecostandmaintenanceofthemembranesused.[7]Nanofiltrationmembranesarean
expensivepartoftheprocess.Repairsandreplacementofmembranesisdependentontotaldissolvedsolids,flow
rateandcomponentsofthefeed.Withnanofiltrationbeingusedacrossvariousindustries,onlyanestimationof
replacementfrequencycanbeused.Thiscausesnanofilterstobereplacedashorttimebeforeoraftertheirprime
usageiscomplete.

Designandoperation
Industrialapplicationsofmembranesrequirehundredstothousandsofsquaremetersofmembranesandtherefore
anefficientwaytoreducethefootprintbypackingthemisrequired.Membranesfirstbecamecommerciallyviable
whenlowcostmethodsofhousinginmoduleswereachieved.[8]Membranesarenotselfsupporting.Theyneed
tobestayedbyaporoussupportthatcanwithstandthepressuresrequiredtooperatetheNFmembranewithout
hinderingtheperformanceofthemembrane.Todothiseffectively,themoduleneedstoprovideachannelto
removethemembranepermeationandprovideappropriateflowconditionthatreducesthephenomenaof
concentrationpolarisation.Agooddesignminimisespressurelossesonboththefeedsideandpermeatesideand
thusenergyrequirements.Leakageofthefeedintothepermeatestreammustalsobeprevented.Thiscanbedone
througheithertheuseofpermanentsealssuchasglueorreplaceablesealssuchasOrings.[9]

ConcentrationPolarisation

Concentrationpolarisationdescribestheaccumulationofthespeciesbeingretainedclosetothesurfaceofthe
membranewhichreducesseparationcapabilities.Itoccursbecausetheparticlesareconvectedtowardsthe
membranewiththesolventanditsmagnitudeisthebalancebetweenthisconvectioncausedbysolventfluxand
theparticletransportawayfromthemembraneduetotheconcentrationgradient(predominantlycausedby
diffusion.)Althoughconcentrationpolarisationiseasilyreversible,itcanleadtofoulingofthemembrane.[9][10]

SpiralWoundModule

Spiralwoundmodulesarethemostcommonlyusedstyleofmoduleandarestandardizeddesign,availableina
rangeofstandarddiameters(2.5,4and8)tofitstandardpressurevesselthatcanholdseveralmodulesinseries
connectedbyOrings.Themoduleusesflatsheetswrappedaroundacentraltube.Themembranesaregluedalong
threeedgesoverapermeatespacertoformleaves.Thepermeatespacersupportsthemembraneandconductsthe
permeatetothecentralpermeatetube.Betweeneachleaf,ameshlikefeedspacerisinserted.[10][11]Thereasonfor
themeshlikedimensionofthespaceristoprovideahydrodynamicenvironmentnearthesurfaceofthemembrane
thatdiscouragesconcentrationpolarisation.Oncetheleaveshavebeenwoundaroundthecentraltube,themodule
iswrappedinacasinglayerandcapsplacedontheendofthecylindertopreventtelescopingthatcanoccurin
highflowrateandpressureconditions.

TubularModule

Tubularmoduleslooksimilartoshellandtubeheatexchangerswithbundlesoftubeswiththeactivesurfaceofthe
membraneontheinside.Flowthroughthetubesisnormallyturbulent,ensuringlowconcentrationpolarisationbut
alsoincreasingenergycosts.Thetubescaneitherbeselfsupportingorsupportedbyinsertionintoperforatedmetal
tubes.Thismoduledesignislimitedfornanofiltrationbythepressuretheycanwithstandbeforebursting,limiting
themaximumfluxpossible.[8][9]Duetoboththehighenergyoperatingcostsofturbulentflowandthelimiting
burstpressure,tubularmodulesaremoresuitedtodirtyapplicationswherefeedshaveparticulatessuchas
filteringrawwatertogainpotablewaterintheFyneprocess.Themembranescanbeeasilycleanedthrougha
piggingtechniquewithfoamballsaresqueezedthroughthetubes,scouringthecakeddeposits.[12]
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FluxEnhancingStrategies

Thesestrategiesworktoreducethemagnitudeofconcentrationpolarisationandfouling.Thereisarangeof
techniquesavailablehoweverthemostcommonisfeedchannelspacersasdescribedinspiralwoundmodules.All
ofthestrategiesworkbyincreasingeddiesandgeneratingahighshearintheflownearthemembranesurface.
Someofthesestrategiesincludevibratingthemembrane,rotatingthemembrane,havingarotordiskabovethe
membrane,pulsingthefeedflowrateandintroducinggasbubblingclosetothesurfaceofthemembrane.[9][10][11]

Characterisation
ManydifferentfactorsmustbetakenintoaccountinthedesignofNFmembranes,sincetheyvarysomuchin
material,separationmechanisms,morphologyandthusapplication.Twoimportantparametersshouldbe
investigatedduringpreliminarycalculations,performanceandmorphologyparameters.

PerformanceParameters

Retentionofbothchargedandunchargedsolutesandpermeationmeasurementscanbecategorisedinto
performanceparameterssincetheperformanceundernaturalconditionsofamembraneisbasedontheratioof
soluteretained/permeatedthroughthemembrane.

Forchargedsolutes,theionicdistributionofsaltsnearthemembranesolutioninterfaceplaysanimportantrolein
determiningtheretentioncharacteristicofamembrane.Ifthechargeofthemembraneandthecompositionand
concentrationofthesolutiontobefilteredisknown,thedistributionofvarioussaltscanbefound.Thisinturncan
becombinedwiththeknownchargeofthemembraneandtheGibbsDonnaneffecttopredicttheretention
characteristicsforthatmembrane.[9]

UnchargedsolutescannotbecharacterisedsimplybyMolecularWeightCutOff(MWCO,)althoughingeneralan
increaseinmolecularweightorsolutesizeleadstoanincreaseinretention.Thechemicalstructure,functionalend
groupsaswellaspHofthesolute,allplayanimportantroleindeterminingtheretentioncharacteristicsandas
suchdetailedinformationaboutthesolutemoleculecharacteristicsmustbeknownbeforeimplementingaNF
design.

MorphologyParameters

ThemorphologyofamembranemustalsobeknowninordertoimplementasuccessfuldesignofaNFsystem,
andthisisusuallydonebymicroscopy.Atomicforcemicroscopy(AFM)isonemethodusedtocharacterisethe
surfaceroughnessofamembranebypassingasmallsharptip(<100)acrossthesurfaceofamembraneand
measuringtheresultingVanderWaalsforcebetweentheatomsintheendofthetipandthesurface.[9]Thisis
usefulasadirectcorrelationbetweensurfaceroughnessandcolloidalfoulinghasbeendeveloped.Correlations
alsoexistbetweenfoulingandothermorphologyparameters,suchashydrophobe,showingthatthemore
hydrophobicamembraneis,thelesspronetofoulingitis.Seemembranefoulingformoreinformation.

Methodstodeterminetheporosityofporousmembraneshavealsobeenfoundviapermporometry,makinguseof
differingvapourpressurestocharacterisetheporesizeandporesizedistributionwithinthemembrane.Initiallyall
poresinthemembranearecompletelyfilledwithaliquidandassuchnopermeationofagasoccurs,butafter
reducingtherelativevapourpressuresomegapswillstarttoformwithintheporesasdictatedbytheKelvin
equation.Polymeric(nonporous)membranescannotbesubjectedtothismethodologyasthecondensablevapour
shouldhaveanegligibleinteractionwithinthemembrane.[9]

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Typicalfiguresforindustrialapplications
KeepinginmindthatNFisusuallypartofacompositesystemforpurification,asingleunitischosenbasedoffthe
designspecificationsfortheNFunit.Fordrinkingwaterpurificationmanycommercialmembranesexist,coming
fromdifferentchemicalfamilies,havingdifferentstructures,chemicaltolerancesandsaltrejectionsandsothe
characterisationmustbechosenbasedonthechemicalcompositionandconcentrationofthefeedstream.

NFunitsindrinkingwaterpurificationrangefromextremelylowsaltrejection(<5%in1001Amembranes)to
almostcompleterejection(99%in8040TS80TSAmembranes.)Flowratesrangefrom2560m3/dayforeach
unit,socommercialfiltrationrequiresmultipleNFunitsinparalleltoprocesslargequantitiesoffeedwater.The
pressuresrequiredintheseunitsaregenerallybetween4.57.5bar.[9]

ForseawaterdesalinationusingaNFROsystematypicalprocessisshownbelow.

BecauseofthefactthatNFpermeateisrarelycleanenoughtobeusedasthefinalproductfordrinkingwaterand
otherwaterpurification,isitcommonlyusedasapretreatmentstepforreverseosmosis(RO)[7]asisshownabove.

Posttreatment
Aswithothermembranebasedseparationssuchasultrafiltration,microfiltrationandreverseosmosis,post
treatmentofeitherpermeateorretentateflowstreams(dependingontheapplication)isanecessarystagein
industrialNFseparationpriortocommercialdistributionoftheproduct.Thechoiceandorderofunitoperations
employedinposttreatmentisdependentonwaterqualityregulationsandthedesignoftheNFsystem.TypicalNF
waterpurificationposttreatmentstagesincludeaerationanddisinfection&stabilisation.

Aeration

APolyvinylchloride(PVC)orfibrereinforcedplastic(FRP)degasifierisusedtoremovedissolvedgasessuchas
carbondioxideandhydrogensulfidefromthepermeatestream.[13]Thisisachievedbyblowingairina
countercurrentdirectiontothewaterfallingthroughpackingmaterialinthedegasifier.Theaireffectivelystripsthe
unwantedgasesfromthewater.

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Disinfection&Stabilisation

ThepermeatewaterfromaNFseparationisdemineralisedandmaybedisposedtolargechangesinpH,thus
providingasubstantialriskofcorrosioninpipingandotherequipmentcomponents.Toincreasethestabilityofthe
water,chemicaladditionofalkalinesolutionssuchaslimeandcausticsodaisemployed.Furthermore,
disinfectantssuchaschlorineorchloroamineareaddedtothepermeate,aswellasphosphateorfluoridecorrosion
inhibitorsinsomecases.[13]

NewDevelopments
ContemporaryresearchintheareaofNanofiltration(NF)technologyisprimarilyconcernedwithimprovingthe
performanceofNFmembranes,minimisingmembranefoulingandreducingenergyrequirementsofalready
existingprocesses.OnewayinwhichresearchersareattemptingtoimproveNFperformancemorespecifically
increasepermeatefluxandlowermembraneresistanceisthroughexperimentationwithdifferentmembrane
materialsandconfigurations.thinfilmcompositemembranes(TFC),whichconsistofanumberofextremelythin
selectivelayersinterfaciallypolymerizedoveramicroporoussubstrate,havehadthemostcommercialsuccessin
industrialmembraneapplicationsduetothecapabilityofoptimizingtheselectivityandpermeabilityofeach
individuallayer.[14]Recentresearchhasshownthattheadditionofnanotechnologymaterialssuchas
electrospunnanofibrousmembranelayers(ENMs)toconventionalTFCmembranesresultsinanenhanced
permeateflux.ThishasbeenattributedtoinherentpropertiesofENMsthatfavourflux,namelytheir
interconnectedporestructure,highporosityandlowtransmembranepressure.[15]Arecentlydevelopedmembrane
configurationwhichoffersamoreenergyefficientalternativetothecommonlyusedspiralwoundarrangementis
thehollowfibremembrane.Thisformathastheadvantageofrequiringsignificantlylesspretreatmentthanspiral
woundmembranes,assolidsintroducedinthefeedaredisplacedeffectivelyduringbackwashorflushing.[16]Asa
result,membranefoulingandpretreatmentenergycostsarereduced.Extensiveresearchhasalsobeenconducted
onthepotentialuseofTitaniumDioxide(TiO2,titania)nanoparticlesformembranefoulingreduction.This
methodinvolvesapplyinganonporouscoatingoftitaniaontothemembranesurface.Internalfouling/pore
blockageofthemembraneisresistedduetothenonporosityofthecoating,whilstthesuperhydrophilicnatureof
titaniaprovidesresistancetosurfacefoulingbyreducingadhesionofemulsifiedoilonthemembranesurface.[17]

Seealso
Listofnanotechnologyapplications
Nanomaterials
Nanotechnology
Ultrafiltration
ReverseOsmosis

References
1.RaymondD.Letterman(ed.)(1999)."WaterQualityandTreatment."5thEd.(NewYork:AmericanWaterWorks
AssociationandMcGrawHill.)ISBN0070016593.
2.DowChemicalCo.NanofiltrationMembranesandApplications(http://www.dow.com/liquidseps/prod/app_nano.htm)
3.Baker,L.A.Martin(2007)."NanotechnologyinBiologyandMedicine:Methods,DevicesandApplications".
Nanomedicine:Nanotechnology,BiologyandMedicine.9:124.
4.Apel,P.Yuetal.(2006)."StructureofPolycarbonateTrackEtch:Originofthe"Paradoxical"PoreShape".Journalof
MembraneScience.282(1):339400.
5.Rahimpour,Aetal.(2010)."PreparationandCharacterisationofAsymmetricPolyethersulfoneandThinFilm
CompositePolyamideNanofiltrationMembranesforWaterSoftening".AppliedSurfaceScience.256(6):16571663.
doi:10.1016/j.apsusc.2009.09.089.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanofiltration 6/7
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6.Baker,L.A.Martin,Choi(2006)."CurrentNanoscience".Nanomedicine:Nanotechnology,BiologyandMedicine.2(3):
243255.
7.Mohammed,A.W.etal.(2007)."ModellingtheEffectsofNanofiltrationMembranePropertiesonSystemCost
AssessmentforDesalinationApplications".Desalination.206(1):215225.doi:10.1016/j.desal.2006.02.068.
8.Baker,Richard(2004).MembraneTechnologyandApplications.WestSussex:JohnWiley&Sons.ISBN0470854456.
9.Schafer,A.I(2005).NanofiltrationPrinciplesandApplications.Oxford:Elsevier.ISBN1856174050.
10.Wiley,D.E.Schwinge,Fane(2004)."NovelSpacerDesignImprovesObservedFlux".JournalofMembraneScience.
229(12):5361.ISSN03767388.
11.Schwinge,J.Neal,P.R.Wiley,D.E.Fletcher,D.F.Fane,A.G.(2004)."SpiralWoundModulesandSpacers:Review
andAnalysis".JournalofMembraneScience.242(12):129153.doi:10.1016/j.memsci.2003.09.031.ISSN03767388.
12.Grose,A.B.FSmith,A.J.Donn,A.O'Donnell,J.Welch,D.(1998)."SupplyingHighQualityDrinkingWaterto
RemoteCommunitiesinScotland".Desalination.117(13):107117.doi:10.1016/s00119164(98)000757.ISSN0011
9164.
13.AmericanWaterWorksAssociation(2007).ManualofWaterSupplyPracticesinReverseOsmosisandNanofiltration.
Denver:AmericanWaterWorksAssociation.pp.101102.ISBN1583214917.
14.Misdan,N.Lau,W.J.Ismail,A.F.Matsuura,T.(2013)."FormationofThinFilmCompositeNanofiltration
Membrane:EffectofPolysulfoneSubstrateCharacteristics".Desalination.329:918.doi:10.1016/j.desal.2013.08.021.
15.Subramanian,SSeeran(2012)."NewDirectionisNanofiltrationApplicationsAreNanofibrestheRightMaterialsas
MembranesinDesalination".Desalination.308:198.doi:10.1016/j.desal.2012.08.014.
16.Pearce,G(2013).NiftyNanofiltration,NewDevelopmentsShowPromise(26ed.).WaterWorldMagazine.
17.Draevi,E.Kouti,K.Danani,V.Pavlovi,D.M.(2013)."CoatingLayerEffectonPerformanceofThinFilm
NanofiltrationMembraneinRemovalofOrganicSolutes".SeparationandPurificationTechnology.118:530539.
doi:10.1016/j.seppur.2013.07.031.

Externallinks
ProjectETAPERN,thatusesrenewableenergiesfordesalinization(http://www.andaluciainvestiga.com/esp
anol/noticias/10/6643.asp).(Spanish)
Nanobasedmethodstoimprovewaterquality(http://www.understandingnano.com/water.html)Hawk's
PerchTechnicalWriting,LLC

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