Microfluidics used as a tool to understand and optimize membrane filtration processes

Izabella Bouhid de Aguiar*, Karin Schroën

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
137 Downloads (Pure)


Membrane filtration processes are best known for their application in the water, oil, and gas sectors, but also in food production they play an eminent role. Filtration processes are known to suffer from a decrease in efficiency in time due to e.g., particle deposition, also known as fouling and pore blocking. Although these processes are not very well understood at a small scale, smart engineering approaches have been used to keep membrane processes running. Microfluidic devices have been increasingly applied to study membrane filtration processes and accommodate observation and understanding of the filtration process at different scales, from nanometer to millimeter and more. In combination with microscopes and high-speed imaging, microfluidic devices allow real time observation of filtration processes. In this review we will give a general introduction on microfluidic devices used to study membrane filtration behavior, followed by a discussion of how microfluidic devices can be used to understand current challenges. We will then discuss how increased knowledge on fundamental aspects of membrane filtration can help optimize existing processes, before wrapping up with an outlook on future prospects on the use of microfluidics within the field of membrane separation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number316
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Filtration processes
  • Membrane
  • Microfluidics
  • Pore blocking
  • Pore design
  • UT-Gold-D


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