Critical flux and fouling in ultrafiltration of proteins
Metsämuuronen, Sari (2003)
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Acta Universitatis LappeenrantaensisURN:ISSN:1456-4491
In this thesis different parameters influencing critical flux in protein ultrafiltration and membrane foul-ing were studied. Short reviews of proteins, cross-flow ultrafiltration, flux decline and criticalflux and the basic theory of Partial Least Square analysis (PLS) are given at the beginning. The experiments were mainly performed using dilute solutions of globular proteins, commercial polymeric membranes and laboratory scale apparatuses. Fouling was studied by flux, streaming potential and FTIR-ATR measurements. Critical flux was evaluated by different kinds of stepwise procedures and by both con-stant pressure and constant flux methods. The critical flux was affected by transmembrane pressure, flow velocity, protein concentration, mem-brane hydrophobicity and protein and membrane charges. Generally, the lowest critical fluxes were obtained at the isoelectric points of the protein and the highest in the presence of electrostatic repulsion between the membrane surface and the protein molecules. In the laminar flow regime the critical flux increased with flow velocity, but not any more above this region. An increase in concentration de-creased the critical flux. Hydrophobic membranes showed fouling in all charge conditionsand, furthermore, especially at the beginning of the experiment even at very low transmembrane pressures. Fouling of these membranes was thought to be due to protein adsorption by hydrophobic interactions. The hydrophilic membranes used suffered more from reversible fouling and concentration polarisation than from irreversible foul-ing. They became fouled at higher transmembrane pressures becauseof pore blocking. In this thesis some new aspects on critical flux are presented that are important for ultrafiltration and fractionation of proteins.
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