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J Memb Sci. 2010 Mar 1;349(1-2):405.

Permeability - Selectivity Analysis for Ultrafiltration: Effect of Pore Geometry.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.


The effects of pore size on the performance of ultrafiltration membranes are fairly well understood, but there is currently no information on the impact of pore geometry on the trade-off between the selectivity and permeability for membranes with pore size below 100 nm. Experimental data are presented for both commercial ultrafiltration membranes and for novel silicon membranes having slit-shaped nanopores of uniform size fabricated by photolithography using a sacrificial oxide technique. Data are compared with theoretical calculations based on available hydrodynamic models for solute and solvent transport through membranes composed of a parallel array of either cylindrical or slit-shaped pores. The results clearly demonstrate that membranes with slit-shaped pores have higher performance, i.e., greater selectivity at a given value of the permeability, than membranes with cylindrical pores. Theoretical calculations indicate that this improved performance becomes much less pronounced as the breadth of the pore size distribution increases. These results provide new insights into the effects of pore geometry on the performance of ultrafiltration membranes.

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