Maximal pore size in UF membranes

Elizabeth Arkhangelsky, Aviv Duek, Vitaly Gitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


The ultrafiltration membrane rejection capability is most often characterized by molecular weight cut-off (MWCO). The value is found by rejection of organic solutes and the evaluation of particle retention requires a conversion of either MWCO to pore size or particle diameter to molecular weight. The conversion affects the accuracy of reported values and results in a gap between reported and measured retentions.We suggest a novel, simple and effective pore size test based on synthesis and membrane transfer of rigid nanoparticles. Gold and silver 3-50nm monodispersions had delivered a comprehensive pore size distribution including d 100, a pore diameter for which a membrane has a 100% retention capability. The maximal pore size in UF membrane structure can hardly be detected with other methods although it is much needed for precise separation analysis.The d 100 values in tested UF membranes vary between 40nm and 50nm depending on the membrane material. The polymer membranes are more flexible than the ceramics and their d 100 is usually much higher than MWCO. The d 100 increases with high transmembrane pressure or after oxidative chemical cleaning. For some membranes the d 100 values can be correlated with d 90 but not with d 50.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2012


  • Aquasols
  • Molecular separation
  • Monodispersed nanoparticles
  • Pathogens
  • Porous materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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