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Membrane Technology

  • By: Elizabeth Rholetter Purdy
  • In: Green Technology: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney
  • Subject:Environmental Sciences (general), Environmental Technology, Policy & Management

Membrane technology is an advanced technology used to purify substances by separating out unwanted materials using semipermeable membranes rather than by using chemicals during a filtration process. When they were first introduced in the 1980s, all microfiltration systems were too expensive for general use; but over the following decade, these systems became more readily affordable. The most commonly used membrane is a hollow fiber wall made up of thousands of bundled fibers containing billions of microscopic holes (pores). Pressure or vacuum is used to force the material to be filtered through the membrane, trapping unwanted substances among the fibers. The chief advantage to membrane technology is that it uses much less energy than is expended in traditional processes such as flocculation, sediment purification techniques, ...

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