Nanofiltration: High Potential, Highly Misunderstood

D.J. Paulson
Water Think Tank, LLC, US

Keywords: nanofiltration, membrane, definition, applications


A 40 year membrane technology developer defines the process of nanofiltration, using the too-common misconceptions of what NF is and how it employed to clarify definitional problems and propose solutions. Insight relating to the problems of advancing an important separations process comes from a the authors experience as a major membrane company R&D Director, and pioneer in membrane technology and applications development. Specific problems are cited of confusion and mis-application of terminology and performance expectations from real world users, as well as the relevant trade groups, standards and regulatory bodies. These include one of the earliest uses of nanofiltration that led to a rare US Supreme Court decision on patent law. Comparison of definitions, applications and performance specifications to the bracketing membrane classes of reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration are used to teach and refine the definition of NF. Confusion about the role of nanomaterials and nanopartical technology in the NF process is also clarified.