We investigate the filtration performance of composite filters composed of micrometer and nanometer fibers. The filter quality is evaluated using the figure of merit, also known as the quality factor. We use analytical expressions for the pressure drop and filtration efficiency to compute the figure of merit. The effects on the figure of merit by fiber diameter, solidity, and thickness of nanometer and micrometer fibers and face velocity are investigated. Experimental data obtained using conventional filter media and nanofiber composite filters are then used to verify the calculated results. We find that for large particles (approximately 0.1 μm and above), nanofibers can improve the figure of merit compared to conventional filters. Smaller fiber size, larger solidity, and thickness of the nanofiber layer lead to better filtration performance in this size range. For small particles (approximately below 0.1 μm), nanofibers do not improve the figure of merit compared to conventional filter media. Larger fiber size, smaller solidity, and thickness of the nanofiber layer are preferred in this size range. We demonstrate that our procedure using analytical expression is a fast and effective tool for filter media design.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are thankful for the support of members of the Center for Filtration Research: 3M Corporation, Cummins Filtration Inc., Donaldson Company, Inc., E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Samsung Semiconductor Inc., Shigematsu Works CO., LTD, TSI Inc., and W. L. Gore & Associates and the affiliate member National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).