Journal of hazardous materials

Effect of fibrous filter properties on the oil-in-water-emulsion separation and filtration performance.

PMID 21459510


Separation of secondary emulsions of dispersed droplet size less than 10 μm, by means of fibrous medium is a very complex but important process. The study investigates the influence of thin fibrous filter properties, i.e. surface energy, pore size and porosity on the separation performance of an isooctane in water emulsion (0.2%, mean drop size 2 μm). Experiments were carried out on five different filter media with a wide variation in their pore size (2-51 μm), surface energy (14-46 mN/m) and porosity (0.46-0.87) at similar process conditions. Filter media with different wettability are obtained by applying various hydrophobic and hydrophilic coatings. All the used coatings contain nanoparticles (25 nm) to impart nanoscale surface roughness at the single fiber surface. Besides emulsion properties and operating conditions, the phase separation mechanism and performance highly depends on pore size, surface energy and porosity of the filter media. More complete coalescence takes place at reduced pore size and at a surface preferentially wetted by the dispersed phase. Whereas when the pore size equals to the influent droplet size, then the surface wettability of filter is less effective and the separation mechanism is governed by inflow velocity. The emulsion inflow velocity and pressure drop are significantly affected by the filter media air permeability but do not depend on filter surface energy.