Ultrafiltration and Filtration System

We all understand the importance of water. I do not need to stress that enough. Water around our world is clearly very abundant. We see it everywhere from oceans to seas to glaciers to streams, rivers, lakes, and more. But while the beautiful Earth is filled with water, a lot of it is actually unfit for drinking. In fact, a very small percentage of the water that exists in this world is actually clean enough to drink and with our increasing population, this is a significant problem. This is why science is so important to us. Through research, science, and expanding technology, people have been able to come up with ways in which we can make water that is naturally not good for drinking, into water that we can drink without getting sick, thus solving our problem. One of the many methods utilized to make this happen include the process known as ultrafiltration. Ultrafiltration is so important because it is one way in which people can create purified and clean water for the rest of the world to drink! If you are unsure what ultrafiltration does or the science behind this system, do not worry! You will soon learn everything you need to know about ultrafiltration systems! In addition, this article will keep you informed on other kinds of filtration systems that exist out there, how they work, and what contaminants and chemicals they are known to remove. Through this, one can gain a great understanding of how to turn harmful tap water into drinking water that is safe for everyone to drink and enjoy.

Understanding the Importance of Ultrafiltration and Filtration Systems

It is incredibly important that one understands the true importance for implementing ultrafiltration and filtration systems on water. Some people know that drinking some kinds of water can pose harmful effects on the body, but the severity of how harmful bad drinking water can be on a person is normally not fully understand. Let’s go through the basics of what dirty drinking water can pose for us. It provides the opportunity for waterborne diseases to reach our body. Certain waterborne diseases that people can receive from the drinking water include cholera, typhoid fever, diarrheal diseases, dysentery, cryptosporidium, gastroenteritis, giardiasis, guinea worm, hepatitis E, and cyclosporiasis. The severity of these diseases is more than just nausea, vomiting, etc. They can lead to death. In fact, water related diseases are the cause of up to 3.4 million deaths a year! With that in mind, you can understand the honest importance of drinking clean water and how ultrafiltration is very much needed to make our water clean.

What is Ultrafiltration?

Ultrafiltration is a type of membrane filtration that is utilized to help purify solutions or water. Forces like pressure or concentration gradients lead to a separation through a semipermeable membrane. Suspended solids and solutes that carry a high molecular weight end up being retained, while water and low molecular weight solutes are passed through the membrane in the permeate (filtrate). Ultrafiltration is very important for the aspect of cleaning and purifying water so that it may be ready to drink. It is similar to reverse osmosis and allows the pressure to push water through a membrane allowing, any suspended solids, bacteria, viruses, endotoxins, and pathogens to stay behind and separated from the water. In terms of the process of ultrafiltration, it actually is not different from methods like reverse osmosis, microfiltration, or nanofiltration. All of these types of filtrations utilize the exact same method, except the only difference is that each system handles a specific size of molecules that it can successfully separate from the water. In the process of Ultrafiltration, the size of pores that can be separated from the water are pores that range in size from 0.0005 to 0.1 micron. In all, think of ultrafiltration as the ideal system for clean water that is completely removed from any sort of colloids, bacteria, proteins, pyrogens, and macromolecules that can greatly affect the taste and odor of the water.

Advantages of Ultrafiltration
● Ultrafiltration membranes are designed to come in a variety of sizes which means that it is able to remove toxins of all sizes from the water
● Ultrafiltration uses low energy consumption because it separates without a phase change. This means no electricity is needed.
● Separation and concentration can be performed at low pressures and any bacteria/colloids can be effectively removed
● Ultrafiltration can be very suitable to applications that involve materials that are sensitive to temperature
● They are very simple and compact
● Operation is relatively easy to be restored after it has been shut down
● The method is not particularly expensive (everyone loves to hear that one!)
● The process of ultrafiltration is very environmentally friendly. Receiving clean water does not have to come at a cost of harming the environment or the animals since no pollutants are released.
● There is a lot of pressure put on the water to the point that virtually all contaminants that are within the water will be effectively removed
● Makes water safer to drink and improves the taste of water for formulas, teas, coffees, and more

Disadvantages of Ultrafiltration
● Soluble materials cannot be filtered
● The odor of the water unfortunately remains the same
● The water from the procedure is unfortunately not drinkable yet because the soluble material cannot be removed. Soluble material such as pesticides can still remain in the water thus making it unfit for drinking (yet thankfully there are procedures that can be applied after to get rid of this soluble and make the water clean and ready to use for drinking)

The Exact Lowdown on the Types of Contaminants that Ultrafiltration Can Remove

For those of you who want an even better understanding of the very specific kinds of contaminants that can be removed and how well they can be removed using ultrafiltration, keep on reading! Ultrafiltration water systems utilize 0.05-micron carbon black pre-filters to reduce chlorine taste and odor, lead, cysts, VOCs and MTE. Typically, an at home ultrafiltration system can reduce bacteria. Benzene, chlorine, crypto, pesticides, rust, bad taste/odor, and viruses by a significant amount. It can partially reduce algae, chloride, copper, lead, and mercury. It very minimally reduces contaminants such as arsenic, fluoride, nitrates, salt, and sulfates. If you are concerned that ultrafiltration does not remove enough contaminants, many at home ultrafiltration water systems can reduce contaminants even more when you purchase extra filters. Those extra filters can help make your water even cleaner than before! In addition, the system does not remove necessary minerals that are found naturally in the water. In this way you can be sure that your water is clean, but not so clean to the point that all essential and important minerals are stripped from it!

Other Filtration Systems that You Can Utilize as Well

Aside from being able to purchase ultrafiltration systems at home, you can also purchase other types of filtration systems that utilize different methods to clean the water, but nonetheless get the job done like ultrafiltration systems do. The filtration systems that you can employ to remove contaminants in your water include ultraviolet or UV, activated carbon filters, ceramic filters, distillation, biosand, and more!

Ultraviolet/UV Water Filters

Ultraviolet or UV is a type of energy that is found in the electromagnetic spectrum and lies between x-rays and visible light. UV water filters use lamps that emit UV light of a certain wavelength that have the ability to disrupt the DNA of certain microorganisms. It specifically attacks their genetic code, rearranges the DNA to RNA, and eliminates the microorganism’s ability to function and reproduce. Through this the microorganism cannot replicate or infect the other organism’s that it comes into contact with. The types of diseases that you can avoid by using UV filtration systems include viruses, cysts, salmonella, typhoid fever, polio, flu, dysentery, meningitis, giardia, bacteria, coliform, cryptosporidium, cholera, E. coli, infectious hepatitis, and more!

Activated Carbon Water Filter

This type of filter utilizes active carbon filters. These are small pieces of carbon that (in either granular or block form) and are extremely porous. The large surface areas of these carbon filters allow for easy absorbing or removing of contaminants and other substances. The water essentially flows through the active carbon filters and all chemicals stick to the carbon filters causing a purer water output. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), activated carbon is the only filter that is recommended to remove all 32 identified organic contaminants including THMS (by-products of chlorine that are cancerous). It can remove pesticides and herbicides as well!

Ceramic Filters

Ceramic filters are another type of filters that are very helpful in removing contaminants from water. They are most helpful in developing countries that because they are very inexpensive yet effective. The small pore size of the ceramic material allows for successful filtering of dirt, debris, and bacteria. The water is simply poured over the ceramic filter and removes particles that are larger than the size of the pores in the filter material. Typical contaminants that are known to be effectively removed using ceramic filtration include bacteria, microbial cysts, and protozoa. They are unfortunately, not effective for removing viruses since they are small enough to pass through the ceramic pores and into the clean water. It is quite common for ceramic filters to be coated with silver that can help kill or incapacitate bacteria, preventing the growth of mold and algae.

Distillation

Distillation is quite an easy water filtration system to understand. It separates the liquids from the solids (or contaminants) by heating the components into gas. The gas is then converted back into liquid form and collected. Typically, since contaminants have different boiling points from liquids, the liquids will typically evaporate before the contaminants leaving all of the contaminants behind while the gas is converted back into a liquid that is purer. There are many different types of distillation that exist out there such as vacuum distillation, fractional distillation, steam distillation, and simple distillation. Distillation is known to remove bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. It cannot remove volatiles or other chemicals with boiling points that are at that of water or near to the boiling point of water. They cannot remove chlorine, chlorine by-products, or VOCs. The unfortunate part and downside to water distillation though, is that is completely strips away minerals which is very bad for the body.

Biosand Filtration

Biosand filters or (BSF) are a point-of-use water treatment system that is adapted from slow sand filters. Pathogens and suspended solids are essentially removed through both biological and physical processes that take place in the biolayer and sand layer. The processes that take place include mechanical trapping, predation, adsorption, and natural death. Mechanical trapping allows the suspended solids and pathogens to be trapped in between spaces of the sand grains. The predation process of biosand filtration allows the pathogens from the water to be consumed by microorganisms within the biolayer. The Adsorption process works to force the pathogens to absorb each other and to suspend solids in within the water and sand grains. Lastly the natural death process occurs in which all pathogens trapped and absorbed end their life cycles and die because of lack of food or oxygen. Biosand filtration is best known for removing a variety of contaminants such as viruses, heavy metals, bacteria, turbidity, and protozoa.

In all, through this article, you can see how ultrafiltration and a variety of other filtration systems work to take out a variety of contaminants that are naturally occurring within the water. They work to remove a variety of chemicals and help to increase the percentage of drinking water that is available to the public. If you are interested in purchasing a certain filtration system for your home, then home depot is sure to have them! They are a great and inexpensive way to produce the best tasting water for you and keep you away from waterborne diseases that can cause miserable problems for your health!

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