Theoretical analysis of the effect of membrane morphology on fouling during microfiltration

Chia Chi Ho, Andrew L. Zydney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Previous studies of membrane fouling have often employed one of the classical blocking laws to describe the variation of filrate flux with time. However, these models implicitly assume that the membrane has straight- through noninterconnected pores, even though most commercial microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes have a highly interconnected pore structure. We have developed a theoretical model for the effects of pore blockage on the fluid velocity and pressure profiles within membranes having different interconnected pore structures assuming Darcy flow in the porous membrane. Model calculations are in good agreement with filtrate flux data obtained during protein microfiltration using membranes with very different pore morphologies. The results clearly demonstrate that the membrane pore connectivity has a significant influence on the flux decline due to the possibility for fluid to flow around the pore blockage, an effect which has been ignored in previous studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2461-2483
Number of pages23
JournalSeparation Science and Technology
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Filtration and Separation


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