The vast majority of commercially available membrane processes are pressure-driven, and CMAT features a range of tools necessary to test membranes for these processes. Pressure driven process can vary over a wide range of pressure, with 0.5-1 bar for microfiltration (MF), rising up to 60-65 bars for reverse osmosis (RO). Multiple configurations such as dead-end filtration and cross-flow filtration can be tested at CMAT in both high-pressure and low-pressure systems, depending on the process application. The equipment have been customized to mimic industrial settings as closely as possible, with membrane cleaning and backwashing capabilities built into the systems.
A wide range of applications require pressure-driven membrane processes, such as seawater desalination, wastewater treatment, food and protein separation, biofouling analysis etc. The ability and technical knowledge to operate the various tools and customize them based on the process is demonstrated at CMAT, with expertise in numerous process testing protocols for these applications.
Some of the noteworthy equipment under this facility are:
- RO Testing Unit (Sterlitech Corporation, USA): The RO test unit allows the measurement of flux in flat sheet RO membranes of size 4×9 cm. All key process parameters are controllable: feed flow rate, temperature and pressure.
- Ultrafiltration/Microfiltration setup (Convergence B.V, Netherlands): Test flux and fouling for ultrafiltration membranes and feed spacers, using bacteria, algae, proteins, heavy metals, etc.
- Membrane fouling simulator (Convergence B.V, Netherlands): Carry out pressure drop studies for biofouling tests in crossflow filtration setup.
- Dead-end Filtration Setup (Koch Membrane Systems, UK): Test membranes in dead-end configuration, including dense RO membranes, at pressures up to 60 bars.