Although several recent studies have demonstrated the importance of electrostatic interactions in ultrafiltration, there have been few quantitative studies of the effects of membrane charge density on protein transport and membrane hydraulic permeability. Data were obtained using a series of charge-modified cellulose membranes, with the surface charge density controlled by varying the extent of addition of a quaternary amine functionality. The membrane charge was evaluated from streaming potential measurements. Protein transmission decreased by a factor of 100 as the membrane ζ potential increased from 0.3 to 6.6 mV. The protein sieving data were in good agreement with a partitioning model accounting for electrostatic effects, while the hydraulic permeability data were consistent with a flow model accounting for the effects of counter-electroosmosis. The results provide the first quantitative analysis of the effects of membrane charge density on the performance of ultrafiltration membranes.
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