A membrane filter is primarily a selective barrier that allows the quick passage of constituents present in a liquid. The liquid that flows through the membrane is called as the permeate while the influent of the membrane is called as the feed-stream and the constituents that are retained in the membrane is either known as a retentate or a concentrate.
The primary criteria for the selection of a suitable membrane include the membrane pore size. Based on the pore size, membranes can be classified as microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanaofiltration and reverse osmosis and reverse osmosis membranes. The thickness of a membrane is also taken into consideration, either with homogenous or heterogeneous structure. In some cases, membranes can be either neutral or charged and the flow of particles is either active or passive.
Particle transport can be facilitated by pressure, concentration, chemical or electrical gradients of the membrane process. Membranes can be classified into two types, which include systematic membranes and biological membrane. These membranes have various uses in wastewater treatment, pharmaceutical and medical industries. Membrane filters are used in these industries as its is less energy-intensive as it does not require major phase changes, it does not demand any absorbents or solvents that are expensive or difficult to handle and the equipment used is simple and modular and this facilitates the incorporation of more efficient membranes.
Te main driver for the membrane filter market is its use in the water treatment process. These membranes provide critical, efficient and reliable solutions for various separation challenges and have also demonstrated high performance across a wide variety of applications as compared to other complicated technologies. The global and local environmental concerns boost the membrane technology market as in aids in the reduction of waste and enhances its general reuse. The major factors that drive the membrane market include the growing global demand for water industry, the stringent local and state government regulations and various environmental concerns. Additionally these membrane filters are reliable and highly cost effective with high permeability and selectivity. The wastewater treatment segment and the pharmaceutical segment are considered the main applications of membrane filters, however the industrial gas processing segment is anticipated t grow at a very fast rate over the next few years.
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North America and Europe have the highest market demand for membrane filters owing to their stringent environmental regulations. Additionally the European countries are continually investing into various research and development of various high performance membrane products for various industrial gas processing and pharmaceutical and medical uses sector. The demand for membrane filters in Asia Pacific is also high due to the increase in water and various wastewater treatments, pharmaceutical and medical industries. This rise in demand in Asia Pacific is expected to continue over the next few years. At present China is considered to be the fastest growing market in the Asia Pacific region and globally. The largest market for membrane filters for the medical industry is the European region followed by North America and Asia Pacific. however North America is anticipated to see the highest growth in the near future.
Some of the key players in this market include Merck Millipore, Pall Corporation, Sartorius Biotech, 3M, Alfa Laval, GE, Graver Technologies, Koch Membrane Systems, MECO, Spectrum Laboratories, Novasep among others.