{PDF PPT DOC} FILTRATION EQUIPMENT – Filtration Mechanism & Types – Adv + Disadvantages

{PDF PPT DOC} FILTRATION EQUIPMENT – Filtration Mechanism & Types – Adv + Disadvantages deals with details of filtration, filtration equipment,definitions, mechanism of filtration, Classification of filtration equipment, Different types of filtration its advantages & Disadvantages.

FILTRATION Definition:

FILTRATION may be defined as the separation of a solid from a fluid by means of a porous medium that retains the solid but allows the fluid to pass.

The term fluid includes liquids and gases, so that both these may be subjected to filtration.

The suspension of solid and liquid to be filtered is known as the “slurry”. The porous medium used to retain the solids is described as the filter medium; the accumulation of solids on the filter is referred to as the filter cake, while the clear liquid passing through the filter is the filtrate.


The mechanisms whereby particles are retained by the filter are of significance only in the early stages of liquid filtration, as a rule. Once a preliminary layer of particles has been deposited, the filtration is effected by the filter cake, the filter medium serving only as a support.


The simplest filtration procedure is “straining”, in which, like sieving, the pores are smaller than the particles, so that the latter are retained on the filter medium.


If the filter medium consists of a cloth with a nap or a porous felt, then particles become entangled in the mass of fibres. Usually the particles are smaller than the pores, so that it is possible that impingement is involved.


In certain circumstances, particles may collect on a filter medium as a result of attractive forces. The ultimate in this method is the electrostatic precipitator, where large potential differences are used to remove the particles from air streams.

In practise, the process may combine the various mechanisms, but the solids removal is effected normally by a straining mechanism once the first complete layers of solids has begun to form the cake on the filter medium.


Equipment’s are classified based on the application of external force.

  1. Pressure filters: plate and frame filter press and metafilter
  2. Vacuum filters: filter leaf
  3. Centrifugal filters

Classification based on the operation of the filtration

  1. Continuous filtration: discharge and filtrate are separated steadily and uninterrupted
  2. Discontinuous filtration: discharge of filtered solids is intermittent. Filtrate is removed continuously. The operation must be stopped to collect the solids.

Classification based on the nature of filtration

  1. Cake filters: remove large amounts of solids (sludge or crystals)
  2. Clarifying filters: remove small amounts of solids
  3. Cross-flow filters: feed of suspension flows under pressure at a fairly high velocity across the filter medium.

Equipment’s of pharmaceutical interest:

  1. Sand filters:
  2. Filter presses: chamber, plate and frame filters ( non-washing/washing; closed delivery/open delivery)
  3. Leaf filters
  4. Edge filters: stream line and meta filters
  5. Rotary continuous filters
  6. Membrane filters

  2. {PDF PPT DOC} FILTRATION EQUIPMENT - Filtration Mechanism & Types - Adv + Disadvantages



These are used mainly when relatively small amounts of solid are to be removed from the liquid and when relatively large volumes of liquid must be handled at minimum cost. A standardised pressure sand filter consists of a cylindrical tank at the bottom of which are a number of brass strainers which are either mounted on a false bottom or connected to a manifold embedded in concrete. The strainers have narrow slots sawed in them. Over the strainers is a layer of several inches of moderately coarse gravel on the top of which is a 2 to 4 ft. deep sand layer that forms the actual filter medium. The water to be filtered is introduced at the top on to a baffle which prevents disturbance in the sand by a direct stream. The filtered water is drawn off through the strainers at the bottom. When the precipitate clogs the sand to the extent of retarding the flow of water, it is removed by back washing. This operation consists of introducing water through the strainers, so that it may flow up through the sand bed and-out through the connection that is normally the inlet. This wash water is wasted. These sand filters are applicable only to the separation of precipitates that can be removed from the sand in this manner and that are to be discarded. Gelatinous precipitates or precipitates that coat the sand so that they cannot be removed by back washing or precipitates that are to be recovered cannot be handled in the sand filter.

Capacity is usually 2 to 4 gpm/sq.ft of surface of filtering area.

Fig1: pressure sand filter

For filtering excessively large quantities of very clean water, an open or rapid sand filter is used. It is similar to the pressure sand filter except that the sand is contained in large, open concrete boxes instead of in a closed pressure tank. Sand filter used in this way becomes a gravity filter (also called hydrostatic head filter).


Gravity filters have advantages of extreme simplicity, needing only simple accessories, low first cost and can be made of almost any material.


  • Relatively low rate of filtration.
  • Excessive floor area needed and high labour charges
  • If the amount of particulate matter to be removed is too small or it is finely divided, sand filter will not remove the suspended solids.
  • In processes involving organic materials there may be danger of bacterial infection from an infected process-water supply and the sand filter cannot remove the bacteria as such. In these cases a coagulant like ferrous sulphate or aluminium sulphate is added to the water before filtration. These are hydrolysed by the alkalinity of most normal waters with the formation of a flocculant precipitate of iron or aluminium hydroxide. This precipitate adsorbs finely divided suspended matter and even bacteria, even if added to the water in very small amounts. The resultant flocs, though fine, are removed by the sand filters.



Principle : The mechanism is surface filtration. The slurry enters the frame by pressure and flows through the filter medium: The filtrate is collected on the plates and sent to the outlet. A number of frames and plates are used so that surface area increases and consequently large volumes of slurry can be processed simultaneously with or without washing.

Construction .: The construction of a plate and frame filter press is shown in the figure2. The filter press is made of two types of units, plates and frames.

(a) Frame-Maintains the slurry reservoir, inlet (eye) for slurry.

(b) Filter medium.

(c) Plate along with section-supports the filter medium, receiving the filtrate and outlet (eye).. (d) Assemb1y of plate and frame filter press.

These are usually made of aluminium alloy. Sometimes these are also lacquered for protection against corrosive chemicals and made suitable for steam sterilisation.

Frame contains an open space inside wherein the slurry reservoir is maintained for filtration and an inlet to receive the slurry. It is indicated by two dots in the description (Figure ).The plate has a studded or grooved surface to support the filter cloth and an outlet. It is indicated by one dot in the description (Figure ). The filter medium (usually cloth) is interposed between plate and frame.

Frames of different thicknesses are available. It is selected based on the thickness of the cake formed during filtration. Optimum thickness of the frame should be chosen. Plate, filter medium, frame, filter medium and plate are arranged in the sequence and clamped to a supporting structure. It is normally described by dots as so on. A number of plates and frames are employed so that filtration area is a large as necessary. In other words, a number of filtration units are operated in parallel. Channels for the slurry inlet and filtrate outlet can be arranged by fitting eyes to the plates and frames, these join together to form a channel. In some types, only one inlet channel is formed, while each plate is having individual outlets controlled by valves.

Working : The working of the frame and plate process can be described in two steps, namely filtration and washing of  the cake (if desirable).


Filtration operation : The working of a plate and frame press is shown in Figure. Slurry enters the frame (marked by 2 dots) from the feed channel and passes through the filter medium on to the surface of the plate (marked by I dot). The solids form a filter cake and remain in the frame. The thickness of the cake is half of the frame thickness, because on each side of the frame filtration occur. Thus, two filter cakes are formed, which meet eventually in the centre of the frame. In general, there will be an optimum thickness of filter cake for any slurry, depending on the solid content in the slurry and the resistance -of the

filter cake.

The filtrate drains between the projections on the surface of the plate and escapes from the outlet. As filtration proceeds, the resistance of the cake increase and the filtration rate decreases. At a certain point, is preferable to stop the process rather than continuing at very low flow rates. The press is emptied and the cycle is restarted.

Fig 3: plate and frame filter press

Washing operation: If it is necessary to wash the filter cake, the ordinary plate and frame press is unsatisfactory. Two cakes are built up in the frame meeting eventually in the middle. This means that flow is brought virtually to a stand still. Hence, water wash using the same channels of the filtrate is very inefficient, if not  impossible. A modification of the plate and frame press is used. For this purpose, an additional channel is included (Figure). These wash plates are identified by three dots. In half the wash  plate there is a connection from the wash water channel to the surface of the plate.

The sequence of arrangement of plates and frames can be represented by dQts as so on (between I and 1,2.3.2 must be arranged). Such an arrangement is shown in Figure (a) and (b) for the operations of filtration and water washing, respectively.

The steps are as follows.

(1) Filtration proceeds in the ordinary way until the frames are filled with cake.

(2) To wash the filter cake, the outlets of the washing plates (three dots) are closed.

(3) Wash water is pumped into the washing channel. The water enters through the inlets on to the surface     of the washing (three dots) plates.

(4) Water passes through the filter cloth and enters frame (two dots) which contains the cake. Then water washes the cake, passes through the filter cloth and enters the plate (one dot) down the surface.

(5)Finally washed water escapes through the outlet of that plate.

Fig 4: plate and frame filter press with water wash facility

Thus with the help of special washing plates, it is possible for the wash-water to flow over the entire surface of washing (three dots) plate, so that the flow resistance of the cake is equal to all points. Hence, the entire cake is washed with equal efficiency.

Fig 5: principles of filtration and washing

It should be noted that water- wash is efficient only if the frames are full with filter cake. If the solids do not fill the frame completely, the wash water causes the cake to break (on the washing plate side of the frame) then washing will be less effective. Hence, it is essential to allow the frames become completely filled with the cake. This helps not only in emptying the frames but also helps in washing the cake correctly.

Special provisions:

(I) Any possible contamination can be observed by passing the filtrate through a glass tube or sight glass from the outlet on each plate. This permits the inspection of quality of the filtrate. The filtrate goes through the control valve to an outlet channel.

(2) The filtration process from each plate can be seen. In the event of a broken cloth, the faulty plate can be isolated and filtration can be continued with one plate less.

Uses : Filter sheets composed of asbestos and cellulose are capable of retaining bacteria, so that sterile filtrate can be obtained, provided that the whole filter press and filter medium have been previously sterilized. Usually steam is passed through the assembled unit for sterilization.

Examples include collection of precipitated antitoxin, removal of precipitated proteins from insulin liquors and removal of cell broth from the fermentation medium.

Heating/cooling coils are incorporated in the press so as to make it suitable for the filtration of viscous liquids .

Advantages :

(1) Construction of filter press is very simple and a variety of materials can be used.

– Cast iron for handling common substances.

— Bronze for smaller units.

– Stainless steel is used there by contamination can be avoided.

– Hard rubber or plastics where metal must be avoided.

– Wood for lightness though it must be kept wet.

(2) It provides a large filtering area in a relatively small floor space. It is versatile, the capacity being variable according to the thickness of frames and the number used. Surface area can be increased by employing chambers up to 60.

(3) The sturdy construction permits the use of considerable pressure difference. About 2000 kilopascals can’ be normally used.

(4) Efficient washing of the cake is possible.

(5) Operation and maintenance is straight forward, because there are no moving parts, filter cloths are easily renewable. Since all joints are external, a plate can be disconnected if any leaks are visible. Thus contamination of the filtrate can be avoided.

(6) It produces dry cake in the form of slab.

Disadvantages :

(I)it is a batch filters so there is a good deal of ‘down-time’, which is non-productive.

(2) The filter press is an expensive filter. The emptying time, the labour involved and the wear and tear of the cloth resulting in high costs.

(3)operation is critical, as the frames should be full, otherwise washing is inefficient and the cake is difficult to remove.

(4) The filter press is used for slurries containing less than 5% solids.  So high costs make it  imperative that this filter press is used for expensive materials. Examples include the collection of precipitated antitoxin and removal of precipitated proteins from insulin liquors.


The filter leaf is probably the simplest  form, of  filter, consisting of a frame enclosing a drainage screen or grooved  plate, the whole unit being covered with filter cloth. The outlet for the filtrate connects to the inside of the frame. The frame may be of any shape, circular, square or rectangular shapes being used in practice. In use, the filter leaf is

immersed in the slurry’ and a receiver and vacuum system connected to the filtrate outlet. The method has the advantage that the slurry can be filtered from any vessel and the cake can be washed simply by immersing the filter, in a vessel of water. Removal of the cake is facilitated by the use of reverse air flow.

An alternative method is to enclose the filter leaf in a special vessel into which the slurry is pumped under pressure.

This form is commonest in filters where a number of leaves are connected to common outlet, to provide a larger area for filtration. A typical example is “ the Sweetland filters

Fig 6: filter leaf                                              Fig 7: sweetland filter

The filter leaf is a versatile piece of equipment. Area can be varied by employing a suitable number of units, and the pressure difference may be obtained with vacuum or by using pressures up to order of 8 bars. The leaf filter is most satisfactory if the solids content of slurry is not too high, about 5 per cent being a suitable maximum. A higher proportion, results in excessive non-productive time while the filter being emptied and, provided this is observed. Labour costs for operating the filter are comparatively moderate·

The special feature of the leaf filter is the high efficiency of washing; in fact the cake can be dislodged and refiltred from the wash water if desired.



Filters such as the filter leaf and filter press are batch operated and can handle dilute suspensions only, if the process is to be economic. In large scale operation, continuous operation is sometimes desirable and it may be necessary to filter slurries containing a high proportion of solids.

The rotary filter is continuous in operation and has a system for removing the cake that is formed, hence it is suitable for use with concentrated slurries.

The rotary filter consists of a number of filter units (usually 16-20 )  arranged so that the units are passing in continuous succession through the various stages.

One form is the rotary disc filter in which the sectors shaped filter leafs form a disc with the outlet from the each leaf connected to the vacuum system, compressed air, and the appropriate receivers, in the correct sequence, by means of special rotating valve.

fig 8: Rotary drum filter

The commonest form in use in the pharmaceutical industry, however, is the rotary drum filters, a section of which is shown in figure, from which it will be seen that the filter units have the shape of longitudinal segments of the pheriphery of a cylinder. Thus, each filter unit is rectangular in shape with a curved profile so that a number can be joined up to form a drum. Each unit has a perforated metal surface to the outer part of the drum and is covered with filter cloth. Appropriate connections are again made from each unit through a rotating valve at the center of the drum. In operation, the drum rotates at low speed, so that cach unit passes through the various zones shown in figure and listed in table.

Rotary filters may be up to 2m in diameter and 3.5m in length, giving areas of the order of 20m2. Special attachments may be included for special purposes; for example if the cake shrinks and cracks as it dries out, cake compression rollers can be fitted. These compress the cake to a homogenous mass to improve the efficiency of washing as the cake passes through the washing zone, or to aid drainage of wash water as the cake passes to the drying zone.

Where the solids of the slurry are such that the filter cloth becomes blocked with the particles, a pre coat filter may be used. This is variant in which a precoat of filter aid is deposited on the drum prior to the filtration process. The scraper knife then removes the solid filtered from the slurry together with a small amount amount of the precoat, the knife advancing slowly as the precoat is removed.

If the removal of the cake presents the problems, alternative discharge methods can be used. The string discharge rotary filter, for example, is especially useful for certain pharmaceutical applications, particularly for filtering the fermentation liquor in the manufacture of antibiotics where the mould is difficult to filter by ordinary methods because it forms a felt-like cake. The string discharge filter is operated by means of a number of loops of string which pass the drum, and cause the cake to form over the strings as shown in the diagram. The strings are in contact with the surface of the drum up to the cake removal zone, where they leave the surface and pass over additional small rollers before returning to again contact the drum. In operation, the strings lift the filter cake of the filter medium, and the cake is broken by the sharp bend, over the rollers so that it is easily collected while the strings return to the drum.



(a) The rotary filter is automatic and is continuous in operation, so that labour costs are very low

(b) the filter has a large capacity, in fact, the area of the filter as represented by A of darcy’s law is infinity.

(c) variation of the speed of rotation enables the cake thickness to be controlled and for solids that form an impermeable cake, the thickness may be limited to less than 5mm. On the other hand, if the solids are coarse, forming a porous cake, the thickness may be 100mm or more.

Table 1: various zones in rotary filter.

Fig 9: string discharge rotary drum filter


  • The rotary filter is a complex piece of equipment with many moving parts and is very expensive and in addition to the filter itself, ancillary equipments such as vacuum pumps and vacuum receivers and traps, slurry pumps and agitators are required.
  • The cake tends to crack due to the air drawn through by the vacuum system so that washing and drying are not efficient.
  • Being a vaccum filter the pressure difference is limited to 1 bar and hot filtrates may boil.
  • The rotary filter is suitable only for straight forward slurries,being less satisfactory if the solids formed an impermeable cake or will not separate cleanly from the cloth.


The rotary filter is most suitable for continuous operation on large quantities of slurry, especially if the slurry contains considerable amounts of solids, i.e., in the range 15-30%.

Examples of pharmaceutical applications include the collection of calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate and starch, and the separation of mycelium from tyhe fermentation liquor in the manufacture of antibiotics.


These are plastic membranes based on cellulose acetate, cellulose nitrate or mixed cellulose esters with pore sizes in the micron or submicron range. They are very thin (about 120 micron thick) and must be handled carefully. They act like a sieve trapping particulate matter on their surface.

Several grades of filters are available with pore sizes ranging from 0.010 ± 0.002

micron to 5.0 ± 1.2 micron. Type codes VF and SM are given by Millipore Filter Corp. for

these two extreme ranges respectively.

Filters with pore sizes from 0.010 to 0.10 micron can remove virus particles from water or air. Filters with pore sizes from 0.30 to 0.65 microns are employed for removing bacteria. Filters with the larger pore sizes, viz. 0.8, 1.2 and 3.0 to 5.0 microns are employed, for example, in aerosol, radio activity and particle sizing applications.

During use membrane filters are supported on a rigid base of perforated metal, plastic or coarse sintered glass as in the case of fibrous pad filters. If the solution to be filtered contains a considerable quantity of suspended matter, preliminary filtration through a suitable depth filter avoids clogging of the membrane filter during sterile filtration. They are brittle when dry and can be stored indefinitely in the dry state but are fairly tough when wet.


  • No bacterial growth through the filter takes place during prolonged filtration.
  • They are disposable and hence no cross contamination takes place.
  • Adsorption is negligible they yield no fibres or alkali into the filterate. Filtration rate is rapid.



  • They may clog though rarely.
  • Ordinary types are less resistant to solvents like chloroform



A form of filters that differs markedly from those described above is the type known generally as edge filters. Filters such as the leaf or press act by presenting a surface of the filter medium to the slurry. Edge filters use a pack of the filter medium, so that filtration occurs on the edges. Forms using packs of media such as filter paper can be used but in the pharmaceutical industry greatest use is made of the Metafilter.


The metafilter, in its simplest form, consists of a grooved drainage rod on which is packed a series of metal rings. These rings, usually of stainless steel, are about 15mm inside diameter, and 0.8mm in thickness, with a number of semi-circular projections on one surface, as shown in the figure. The height of the projections and the shape of the section of the ring are such as that when the rings are packed together, all the same way up, and tightened on the drainage rod with a nut, channels are formed that taper from about 250µm down to 25µm. One or more of these packs is mounted in a vessel, and the filter may be operated by pumping in the slurry under pressure or, occasionally, by the application of reduced pressure to the outlet side.

In this form, the metafilter can be used as a strainer for coarse particles, but for finer  particles a bed of a suitable material such kieselguhr is first built up. The pack of rings, therefore, serves essentially as a base on which the true filter medium is supported.



(a) The metafilter possesses considerable strength and high pressures can be used, with no danger of bursting the filter medium.

(b)As there is no filter medium as such, the running costs are low, and it is a very economical


(c) The metafilter can be made from materials that can provide excellent resistance to corrosion and avoid contamination of the most sensitive product.

(d) by selection of a suitable grade of material to form the bed, it is possible to filter off very fine particles; in fact, it is claimed that some grade will sterilize some liquid by filteration. Equally well it is possible to remove larger particles simply by building up a bed of coarse substances, or even by using the meta filter candle itself if the particles are sufficiently large.

(e) Removal of the cake is effectively carried out by back flushing with water. If further cleaning is required, it is normally necessary to do more than slacken the clamping nut on the end of the drainage rod on which the rings are packed.

Fig:10 (a) surface view ring ,

                                             (b) section through filter



The small surface of the metafilter restricts the amount of the solids that can be collected. This, together with the ability to separate very fine particles, means that the metafilter is used almost exclusively for clarification purposes.

Furthermore, the strength of the metafilter permits the use of high pressures (15 bars) making the method suitable for viscous liquids. Also, it can be constructed with material appropriate for corrosive materials. Specific examples of pharmaceutical uses include the clarification os syrups, of injection solutions, and of products such as insulin liquors.


Filtration is an unique unit operation. The seperative process of filtration is widely used in the biopharmaceutical industry to remove contaminants from liquids, air, and gases, such as particulate matter, micro organisms. So a thorough knowledge of filtration equipment and their integrity testing is essential.


  1. Cooper and Gunn’s. Tutorial Pharmacy by S.J.Carter.
  2. Pharmaceutical engineering; K. Sambamurthy
  3. Pharmaceutical engineering; principles and practices, C.V.S. Subrahmanyam
  4. Encyclopedia of pharmaceutical technology, vol 3, edited by James Swarbrick.
  5. Pikal, M.J.; Lukes, A.L.; Lang, J.E. Thermal decomposition of amorphous beta-lactam antibacterials. J. Pharm. Sci. 1977, 66, 1312–1316.
  6. Pikal, M.J.; Lukes, A.L.; Lang, J.E.; Gaines, K. Quantitative crystallinity determinations of beta-lactam antibiotics by solution calorimetry: correlations with stability. J. Pharm. Sci. 1978, 67, 767–773.
  7. Pikal, M.J.; Dellerman, K.M. Stability testing of pharmaceuticals by high-sensitivity isothermal calorimetry at 25_C: cephalosporins in the solid and aqueous solution states. Int. J. Pharm. 1989, 50, 233–252
  8. batch and continuous filtration,pharmaceutical filtration ppt, factors affecting rate of filtration, filtration ppt presentation, theory of filtration ppt, advantages and disadvantages of filtration of water,
    rate of filtration calculation, filtration techniques ppt, types filtration equipment, filtration equipment pdf,
    filtration equipment ppt, simple filtration equipment, filtration equipment chemistry, types of filtration process, types of water filtration, types of filtration pdf.

Filtration equipment pdf

filtration equipment pdf,PDF PPT DOC Pharmaceutical FILTRATION EQUIPMENT – Filtration Mechanism & Types – Adv Disadvantages