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Submitted by on Oct 21, 2021

Filtration is a physical or chemical separation technique that uses a filter media with a complicated structure through which only the fluid can pass to separate solid particles and fluid from a combination. Solid particles that are too large to pass through the filter media are referred to as oversize, while the fluid that does is referred to as filtrate. Blinding occurs when oversize particles create a filter cake on top of the filter and obstruct the filter lattice, preventing the fluid phase from passing the filter. The effective pore size of a filter is the size of the biggest particles that can pass through it effectively.

Solids will be contaminated with some fluid, and the filtrate will contain tiny particles due to the poor separation of solid and fluid (depending on the pore size, filter thickness and biological activity). There are biological, geological, and industrial forms of filtration in both natural and artificial systems.

Filtration is also a term used to describe biological and physical processes that employ entrainment, phagocytosis, adsorption, and absorption to remove chemical species and living organisms from a fluid stream. Slow sand filters and trickling filters are two examples. It’s also a catch-all word for microphagy, in which organisms filter tiny food particles from their surroundings via a variety of mechanisms. Filter feeders include anything from the microscopic Vorticella to the biggest fish in the world, the Basking shark, as well as baleen whales.

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In laboratories, two types of filter media are used: surface filters, which are solid sieves that trap solid particles with or without the use of filter paper (e.g. Büchner funnel, belt filter, rotary vacuum-drum filter, cross-flow filters, screen filter), and depth filters, which are a bed of granular material that retains solid particles as they pass through (e.g. Büchner funnel, belt filter, rotary vacuum-drum filter, cross-flow filters, screen filter) (e.g. sand filter).

The solid particles, i.e. the residue, can be gathered intact with a surface filter, but not with a depth filter. The depth filter, on the other hand, is less likely to clog due to the larger surface area where particles can be trapped. Furthermore, when the solid particles are very small, discarding the contaminated granules is frequently cheaper and easier than cleaning the solid sieve.

Backwashing or rinsing with solvents or detergents can clean filter media. Backwashing can be used to clean them in technical applications such as swimming pool water treatment systems. Self-cleaning screen filters clean the screen without disrupting system flow by using point-of-suction backwashing.

Fluids flow through a filter owing to a pressure difference”fluid flows from the high-pressure side of the filter to the low-pressure side. Gravity is the easiest way to do this, as demonstrated by the coffeemaker. In the laboratory, pressure in the form of compressed air on the feed side (or vacuum on the filtrate side) can be used to speed up the filtration process, although this might cause blockage or tiny particle passing.

Alternatively, the liquid might be forced through the filter by a pump, which is a typical approach in industry where filtering time is important. The filter does not have to be placed vertically in this situation.

Filter aids may be used to help in filtration. Incompressible diatomaceous earth, also known as kieselguhr, is largely made up of silica. Wood cellulose and other inert porous materials, such as the less expensive and safer perlite, are also utilized. Activated carbon is frequently employed in industrial applications that need changes in the characteristics of the filtrate, such as color or odor.

There are two ways to apply these filter aids. They can be used as a precoat before filtering the slurry. This will prevent gelatinous-type particles from clogging the filter media, as well as provide a cleaner filtrate. They can also be mixed in with the slurry before it is filtered. This enhances the cake’s porosity and decreases the cake’s resistance to filtering. The filter aid can be put as a precoat in a rotary filter, and then thin slices of this layer are cut off with the cake.

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