Liquid filtration of nanoparticles through track-etched membrane filters under unfavorable and different ionic strength conditions: Experiments and modeling

Handol Lee, Doris Segets, Sebastian Süß, Wolfgang Peukert, Sheng Chieh Chen, David Y.H. Pui

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34 Scopus citations


Nanoparticle deposition experiments under unfavorable conditions were conducted experimentally and theoretically. The 0.2 and 0.4 µm rated track-etched membrane filters were challenged with 60, 100, 147, 220, 350 and 494 nm polystyrene latex (PSL) particles with different ionic strengths ranging from 0.005 to 0.05 M. The capillary tube model, with replacing the viscosity of air to water, was used to estimate the initial efficiency, or the transport efficiency of the particles to the filter surface, which was corrected in a second step by allowing the detachment of the nanoparticles according to the sum of adhesive and hydrodynamic torques. The adhesive torques were derived from surface interactions accessed by the extended DLVO theory. Calculation results showed that the adhesive torque of a particle located in the calculated primary minimum was slightly larger than the hydrodynamic torque, resulting in particle deposition. However, experimental data clearly indicated that detachment occurred. This could only be explained by the presence of additional hydration forces, leading to a larger separation which became relevant at high ionic strengths. By including hydration into our theoretical framework, experiment and theory were in very good agreement under all different ionic strength conditions. The findings allow a basic understanding of surface interactions between nanoparticles and membranes in micro- and ultra-filtration applications for drinking water production, wastewater treatment and particle free water production in industries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-690
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Feb 15 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the support of members of the Center for Filtration Research: 3M Corporation, A.O. Smith Company, BASF Corporation, Boeing Company, China Yancheng Environmental Protection Science and Technology City, Cummins Filtration Inc., Donaldson Company, Inc., Entegris, Inc., Guangxi Wat Yuan Filtration System Co., Ltd, H.B. Fuller Company, Mann+Hummel GmbH, MSP Corporation; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., TSI Inc.; W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., Shigematsu Works Co., Ltd., Xinxiang Shengda Filtration Technique Co. Ltd., and the affiliate member National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). D.S., S.S. and W.P. acknowledge the funding of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), EXC 315 through the Cluster of Excellence “Engineering of Advanced Materials”; D.S. and S.S. additionally acknowledge the “ Alfred-Kärcher Förderstiftung ”.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Adhesive and hydrodynamic torque
  • Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) theory
  • Microfiltration
  • Short range hydration effects
  • Track-etched polycarbonate membrane filter


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