In water treatment, virus removal using ultrafiltration is a major step towards better water quality. In this paper, we study virus filtration efficiency using surrogate virus particles and via statistical surface-response approach. We focus on the effect of particle size (20–100 nm range) as a key factor along with the effects of transmembrane pressure (20–60 kPa range) and feed flowrate (0.3–1.0 L/min range) on the filtration virus removal efficiency (LRV). The particle size is shown to impart a great deal of influence on surrogate particle removal. The effect of particle-to-pore-size ratio is reported for comparison of membrane molecular weight cut off (MWCO) performance. It was shown experimentally and through the developed empirical regression model that transmembrane pressure plays a major role in controlling the filtration efficiency along with flowrate. In the studied experimental range, higher LRV values are obtained at lower transmembrane pressure (20 kPa) and at higher feed flowrate (1 L/min). Further the effect on LRV of the interaction between transmembrane pressure and particle size seems to be more significant than that of the interaction of flowrate with particle size.
Keywords: particle size, regression statistical model, ultrafiltration, virus removal