You may have heard about microfiltration technology being used for water filters, but what exactly does it do? What makes this an important feature of water filters?
Microfiltration is classified as one of the membrane processes. What happens here is that water is passed through either a plastic or polymeric membrane that is porous. Microfiltration is one such application of an application of membrane technologies using a semi-permeable membrane. The filtering happens when the pores are large enough to let water flow through while being small enough to separate it from undesirable materials and other elements.
What makes microfiltration different from other filtration techniques involving membranes such as reverse osmosis (RO), nanofiltration, and ultrafiltration, boils down to the size of pores in the membrane material. The smaller the holes in the membrane mean that the smaller particles are removed by the membrane.
For the case of microfiltration, they are rated by the smallest particle that they can remove which is the micron. Micron pertains to a unit of length that is one millionth of a meter or 0.00004 inches. The human eye can only see objects in the 50-60 micron range such as thickness of wool fibers or diameters of the human hair. It is important to note that filters with smaller pores are more high maintenance than those with larger pores.
How it works
Differential pressure is applied to a semi-permeable membrane and the pressure forces the water, solutes, and other small particulate matter through the water while the much larger solids are left on the other side of the membrane. How the membrane is configured varies between manufacturers from plate and frame, spiral wound, tubular, and hollow fiber but the most common type used is the “hollow fiber.” Water is pumped from the outside of the fibers and the clean water is collected from the inside.
Microfiltration is most effective against small particles such as microplastics and suspended solids such as ferric iron, sand, clay, and ilt; some pathogens like bacterias; and other suspended matter. It can also remove algae, pathogenic protozoa, and sediments like certain complex particles. However, dissolved contaminants such as nitrates, dissolved iron, sodium, and other volatile organic compounds (VOC) are beyond the capabilities of microfiltration.
Applications of microfilters
Microfiltration is especially useful for both water and wastewater treatment and is applied in a wide range of both commercial and industrial scenarios, such as processing different kinds of end products. Some applications include: petroleum refining, clarifying fruit juices, beer, and wine, cold sterilization of beverages and pharmaceuticals, and the separation of bacteria from water and medicines.
Because filters require maintenance, some microfilters have in them self-contained throwaway elements in the event that they become full or clogged. In general, microfiltration is a low-cost yet safe water filtration process that is almost self-monitoring. As the filter becomes clogged, the pressure will drop all throughout the filter which will decrease the water flow, a sign that it needs to be replaced. This requires little to no attention as long as the filter stays in its place and there are no leaks throughout the seals or the filter itself, which makes it really convenient for the everyday users.
Do you need a microfilter?
Choosing a water filter all boils down to what will give you the most peace of mind. You want to make sure that your filter not only improves your drinking water’s taste and odour but is also capable of removing other potentially harmful contaminants.
The IVO Faucet-Mounted Water Purifier has an advanced 4-stage process that features the unique hollow fiber membrane – the same technology used in dialysis machines and artificial kidneys in the medical field. This medical-grade filtration technology is capable of removing microscopic impurities and microorganisms as little as 0.1 micron – that includes bacteria, microplastics and even sub-microplastics!
Enjoy clean and great tasting water with IVO.