How Does Hollow Fiber Membrane Work?

  • Source: Hydro Blue
  • Date:05/05/2019
It is a hollow fibre filtration mechanism that is engineered to maximize numerous long and permeable filaments varying from 1 to 3.5 mm wide and they are preserved in a PVC shell. Hollow fibre membranes were originally designed in the 1960s for reverse osmosis application are now predominantly used in the treatment of water, production of medicine, desalination, tissue engineering, cell culture, etc.

How does it work?

How fibre membrane mechanism function based on the similar principle to capillary or tabular configurations but in this case, makes use of a minute tube diameter which enables flexibility.
In most technology developed, there are always challenges and hindrances faced by technology. Some of the challenges of hollow fibre membranes include Fiber breakage. They are caused due to the intense flexibility of the fibers because when they are under high strain, the possibility of them breaking is very high. Unlike other configurations, they have a very high cost of operation. 

Filtration Membrane:

It is a type of membrane that consists of a thin layer of semi-porous material that disintegrates substances when a propelling force is applied over the membrane. These processes are usually used for removal of particles, natural organic material, bacteria, and micro-organisms and it also has the mechanism to disseminate color, tastes and odors to water and cause a reaction with disinfectants which leads to the formation of byproducts disinfection. Membrane pore size is a factor that the degree of selectivity of the membrane is dependent on, according to the pore size, the membrane is grouped into 3 and they include microfiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration. 


Microfiltration can be referred to as a process that is engineered to perform a membrane separation process. This process is executed using pore size ranging from 0.000003mm to 0.001mm, extremely low feed water operation pressure ranging from 100kpa to 400kpa and a molecular weight cut-off of more than 1,000,000 Daltons. Some materials that can be filtered by this process include silt, sand, clay, some bacterial species etc.


Unlike microfiltration, nanofiltration process is executed using the nominal pore size of 0.0000001mm and molecular weight cut-off ranging from 1,000 to 100,000 daltons. For this process to function effectively, a significantly high operating pressure is required.

Reverse Osmosis:

This process has the capacity to efficiently filter almost all inorganic contaminants from water. This process can also efficiently filter natural organic substances, radium, pesticides, bacteria etc. Most at times reverse osmosis function more efficient when employed in series with multiple units. 


This process employs pore size ranging from 0.0000002 to 0.00001mm, operation pressure level ranging from 200 to 700kpa and molecular weight cut-off ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 daltons. Ultrafiltration has the capacity to filter virtually all microbiological species, certain viruses but this process is not an absolute solution to viruses and thematic substance.

Membrane Filter Technique:

This technique employs the method of isolating separate province of bacteria unlike the most probable number procedure that only shows the presence or absence of an approximate organism which is shown by turbidity in test tubes.

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