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Benefits of Membrane Separations
Organic chemists are often confronted with tedious separations. In addition to the conventional techniques (destillation, liquid-liquid extraction, chromatography, etc.), membranes can sometimes offer a convenient solution to the separation problem. A membrane can be defined as a barrier, which separates two phases and restricts transport of various chemicals in a selective manner. Using a membrane separation process has following advantages:
- Appreciable energy savings
- Environmentally benign
- Clean technology with operational ease
- Replaces the conventional processes like filtration, distillation, ion-exchange and chemical treatment systems
- Produces high-quality products
- Greater flexibility in designing systems.
There are several types of membranes (homogeneous or heterogeneous, symmetric or asymmetric in structure, solid or liquid, electrically charged, neutral or bipolar) and several ways how transport through a membrane can be effected (by convection or by diffusion of individual molecules, induced by an electric field or concentration, pressure or temperature gradient). This has resulted in a variety of membrane processes (microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, etc..)
The proper choice of membrane type/process requires a thorough understanding of the field. The web site "Membrane Separation in Organic Synthesis" is an excellent starting point for both a researcher new to the field as an expert who is looking for a intuitively organized web site about this subject.
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