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Diverse Pore Sizes: Evolution and Significance in Membrane Technology

Initially, technological limitations led to frequent membrane ruptures and sludge accumulation, presenting significant challenges. Despite these obstacles, membrane technology persisted, driven by the necessity for cell separation amidst economic constraints and high costs. Extensive research in the 1980s focused on membrane variations for separation, particularly in water treatment and wastewater applications.

In the past, membranes lacked good mechanical strength, tensile strength, flux, and elongation, making them prone to breakage. However, with advancements in technology, high-quality membranes with sponge structures have emerged, capable of withstanding harsh environments while maintaining performance over extended periods.

Fast forward to today, the market landscape has evolved considerably, with water and wastewater treatment now mainstream. Membranes play an essential role despite early economic challenges, especially as industries like life sciences and biotechnology flourish, necessitating diverse membrane sizes. The pursuit of diverse pore sizes, from reverse osmosis to nanofiltration, reflects this evolution.

The initiation of functional membranes has further diversified the market, emphasizing their significance across various applications. Today, membranes are meticulously designed to meet specific operational needs, considering factors like flux, rejection, and mechanical properties, driving innovation. While the industry's historical focus was on wastewater and water treatment, recent years have seen a significant increase in market volume, driven by diverse applications like biopharmaceuticals, humidification, and various filtration techniques. 

Additionally, Molecular Weight Cut Off (MWCO) and sharp MWCO curve have emerged as crucial aspects of membrane technology. Taking, for example, reverse osmosis and nanofiltration, these parameters determine the size of molecules that can pass through the membrane. In reverse osmosis membranes with smaller MWCOs, larger molecules like salt ions are effectively blocked, allowing only water molecules to pass through and resulting in purified water. Conversely, in nanofiltration membranes with larger MWCOs, smaller molecules like calcium and magnesium ions are also allowed to pass through, making them suitable for applications such as water softening.

Table Reference - Pore Size Ranges & Molecular Weight Cut Off (MWCO) for Different Filtration Types
Table Reference - Pore Size Ranges & Molecular Weight Cut Off (MWCO) for Different Filtration Types

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images
Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) of Conventional UF Membranes from PHILOS or/and research papers

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Images of PHILOS Membrane
Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Images of PHILOS Membrane

PHILOS, recognizing these evolving market needs, has developed advanced membranes with high flux, stringent rejection control, and enhanced mechanical strength. Featuring a sponge structure for higher pressure resistance and recovery from pressure-driven processes, these membranes address past issues of poor structure, low water flux, ensuring durability in challenging environments.

PHILOS's client-centric approach involves listening to requirements and tailoring pore sizes accordingly, aiming to optimize membrane performance. Successful lab-scale module testing precedes larger-scale production, ensuring PHILOS membranes meet industry needs while upholding high performance and durability standards.


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