Results published in 2014 in Journal of Membrane Science
The researchers from the Laboratoire de Rheology and their collaborators have demonstrated the efficiency of ultrasound to avoid membrane fouling during tangential ultrafiltration of skimmed milk.
Thanks to an original experimental design based on small angle X ray scattering (SAXS), the researchers form the Laboratory for Rheology and Processes and their collaborators have monitored the real-time evolution of casein micelle suspensions during cross-flow membrane filtration of skimmed milk.
At the nano-scale, they observed that over the process of filtration, a dense colloidal layer maintained by strong interactions between micelles was formed near the membrane. The formation of this viscous layer and its microstructure was studied and correlated to an important reduction of the transmembrane flow.
Ultrasounds to break the layer
Interestingly, when applying low intensity ultrasound during the process, a clear disruption of the dense layer was obtained together with a significant increase in the permeation flux through the membrane.
Such unique results could find interesting applications in dairy industry, where cross-flow membrane filtration is widely used and encounters the major obstacle of irreversible membrane fouling.
Y. Jin, N.Hengl, F. Pignon, N. Gondrexon, M. Sztucki, G. Gésan-Guiziou, A. Magnin, M. Abyan, M. Karrouch, D. Blésès. Effect of ultrasound on cross-flow ultrafiltration of skim milk: characterization from macro-scale to nano-scale, J. Memb. Sci 470 (2014) 205-2018.