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Title Development of High-throughput Membrane Filtration Techniques for Biological and Environmental Applications
Publication Date
Date Available
Degree PhD
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher McMaster University

Membrane filtration processes are widely utilized across different industrial sectors for biological and environmental separations. Examples of the former are sterile filtration and protein fractionation via microfiltration (MF) and ultrafiltration (UF) while drinking water treatment, tertiary treatment of wastewater, water reuse and desalination via MF, UF, nanofiltration (NF) and reverse-osmosis (RO) are examples of the latter. A common misconception is that the performance of membrane separation is solely dependent on the membrane pore size, whereas a multitude of parameters including solution conditions, solute concentration, presence of specific ions, hydrodynamic conditions, membrane structure and surface properties can significantly influence the separation performance and the membrane’s fouling propensity. The conventional approach for studying filtration performance is to use a single lab- or pilot-scale module and perform numerous experiments in a sequential manner which is both time-consuming and requires large amounts of material. Alternatively, high-throughput (HT) techniques, defined as the miniaturized version of conventional unit operations which allow for multiple experiments to be run in parallel and require a small amount of sample, can be employed. There is a growing interest in the use of HT techniques to speed up the testing and optimization of membrane-based separations. In this work, different HT screening approaches are developed and utilized for the evaluation and optimization of filtration performance using flat-sheet and hollow-fiber (HF) membranes used in biological and environmental separations. The effects of various process factors were evaluated on the separation of different biomolecules by combining a HT filtration method using flat-sheet UF membranes and design-of-experiments methods. Additionally, a novel HT platform was introduced for multi-modal (constant transmembrane pressure vs. constant flux) testing of flat-sheet membranes used in bio-separations. Furthermore, the first-ever HT modules for parallel testing of HF membranes were developed for rapid fouling tests as well as extended filtration evaluation experiments. The usefulness of the modules was demonstrated by evaluating the filtration performance of different foulants under various operating conditions as well as running surface modification experiments. The techniques described herein can be employed for rapid determination of the optimal combination of conditions that result in the best filtration performance for different membrane separation applications and thus eliminate the need to perform numerous conventional lab-scale tests. Overall, more than 250 filtration tests and 350 hydraulic permeability measurements were performed and analyzed using the HT platforms developed in this thesis.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Membrane filtration is widely used as a key separation process in different industries. For example, microfiltration (MF) and ultrafiltration (UF) are used for sterilization and…

Subjects/Keywords Membrane filtration; Ultrafiltration; Downstream bio-processing; High-throughput (HT) testing; Wastewater treatment; Hollow-fiber membranes; Humic acids; High-throughput filtration; Design-of-experiments (DOE); Process optimization; Microscale filtration; Microfluidic flow control system; Stirred well filtration; SWF; High-throughput hollow-fiber module; HT-HF; Constant TMP; Constant flux; Multi-modal filtration; Bioseparation; MMFC; Microscale parallel-structured, cross-flow filtration; MS-PS-CFF; PEG; Dextran; FITC-Dextran; BSA; DNA; IgG; α-lactalbumin; Biomolecule separation; Module hydrodynamics; Concentration polarization; Membrane fouling; Micromixing; Omega™ membrane; Microscale processing; Fouling test; PVDF membrane; Surface modification; Polydopamine; Membrane cleaning; Membrane backwashing; Sodium alginate; Polyethersulfone; PES; Hydraulic permeability; Membrane permeability; ZeeWeed® membrane; Filtration ionic strength; Filtration pH; Solution conditions; Water treatment; Environmental separations; Biological separations
Contributors Latulippe, David; Chemical Engineering
Language en
Country of Publication ca
Record ID handle:11375/23404
Repository mcmaster
Date Indexed 2020-08-12

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