Previous studies of protein fouling during microfiltration have shown significant discrepancies between filtrate flux data and predictions of the classical pore blockage, pore constriction, and cake filtration models. A new mathematical model was developed for the filtrate flux which accounts for initial fouling due to pore blockage and subsequent fouling due to the growth of a protein cake or deposit over these initially blocked regions. The model explicitly accounts for the inhomogeneity in the cake layer thickness over different regions of the membrane arising from the time-dependent blockage of the pore surface. The model was shown to be in excellent agreement with experimental data obtained during the stirred cell filtration of bovine serum albumin solutions through polycarbonate track-etched microfiltration membranes over the entire course of the filtration. The model provides a smooth transition from the pore blockage to cake filtration regimes, eliminating the need to use different mathematical formulations to describe these two phenomena. In addition, the model provides the first quantitative explanation for some of the unusual observations reported previously in investigations of protein microfiltration. The results provide important insights into the underlying mechanisms of protein fouling during microfiltration. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry