Modeling of Separation on Porous Membranes 

J. Anthony Brown,  Michael P. McLaughlin
Adviser: Mikhail Agrest, Ph.D.


To solve a problem involving the filtration of a given type of solution using membrane technology, one has to have information about the behavior of different kinds of solution in terms of the molecular weight distribution (MWD) with respect to a given pore size distribution (PSD) in the employed membrane. The entire problem to design a method of separation consists of two general stages: analysis of the pore structure of the membrane and modeling of the filtration process through membranes. The use of an electron microscope is essential in determining the membrane's PSD. Images of the Gelman Sciences "Supor" membranes were analyzed by computer imaging programs to generate a complete picture of the PSD. The PSD were interpolated by advanced functions using "Mathematica." Although data shows that the PSD is uniform across a particular surface, the PSD appears to vary at different depths. This lends credibility to the idea that the pores should be treated as cones rather than straight cylinders. Additional investigations spanning the entire depth of the membrane are required for a more thorough analysis.