Cross-flow microfiltration (CFMF) has potentially wide application in the processing of industrial and domestic waste waters. Optimum design and operation of CFMF systems necessitates a knowledge of the characteristic system behaviour, and an understanding of the mechanisms governing this behaviour. This paper is a contribution towards the elucidation and understanding of the behaviour of a woven fibre CFMF operated in the turbulent flow regime.

The characteristic flux-time curve and effects of operating variables on flux are presented for a limestone suspension cross-flow filtered in a 25 mm woven fibre tube. The phenomena contributing to the shape of the flux-time curve are discussed. A model of the mechanisms governing cake growth and limit is presented. Predicted steady-state fluxes show a notably good correspondence with experimentally measured values. It is also found that the flux may not be uniquely defined by the operating conditions, but may also be a function of the operating path taken to reach the operating point. This is of significance in the start-up and operation of CFMF units.

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