Stability and deformation of oil droplets during microfiltration on a slotted pore membrane

The effect of interfacial tension between two fluids, on the passage and rejection of oil droplets through slotted pore membranes is reported. A mathematical model was developed in order to predict conditions for 100% cut-off of oil droplets through the membrane as a function of permeate flux rate. Good agreement of theoretical predictions with experimental data shows that the model can be applied to the filtration of deformable droplets through slotted pore membranes. At high interfacial tension (40 mN/m) with lower flux (200 l m−2 hr−1)droplets of crude oil (27 API) were 100% rejected at droplet diameter 4.3 μm using a 4 μm slotted pore membrane. At lower interfacial tension (5 mN/m), with the same flux rate, 100% rejection occurred at 10 μm droplet diameter using the same membrane. It was also found that the droplet rejection efficiency below the 100% cut-off was roughly linear with drop size, down to zero rejection at zero drop diameter. Hence, the model, coupled with this approximate correlation, can be used to predict dispersed oil drop concentration from a known feed drop size distribution.