The term "filter media" refers not to one specific material, but to any and all materials used in filters. Filters make up one half of the main components of filtration devices, while media makes up the other half. In essence, a filter is a housing mechanism or frame in which and by which media is held in place. Inside the filters, as process streams run through them, they act as the agent that reduces or removes the presence of contaminants in a supply of fluid or air by dissolving, collecting or trapping them. Filter media work by processing impure materials in a passive manner, which means that the filters stand still as the process liquid or gaseous streams are pushed, pulled or otherwise coerced through the filter media.
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Filter media and filtration devices and systems are used everyday to filter liquids and gases in all sorts of industries. Some of these industries include: aerospace, agriculture, automotive, aviation, building, chemical processing, construction, electronics, food processing, heating and cooling, laboratory, manufacturing, medicine, mining, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, sewage and water treatment. Examples of different filtration devices used in some of these industries include: coffee filters, screen filters, belt filters, HEPA filters, filter flasks, horizontal plate filters, sieves, cross-flow filters, sand filters and depth filters.
To carry out the filtration process properly, filter media must be composed of porous or fibrous materials that are themselves composed of either coarse or fine semi-permeable matrices. These matrices must be able to either chemically dissolve or capture particulates while simultaneously allowing the liquid, gas or base product to permeate them unhindered. The materials appropriate for this task may either be synthetic or organic materials. In the past, synthetic materials have been used more heavily than organic ones, but as synthetic materials and disposable filters ultimately end up in landfills, they have increasingly begun to field criticism. At the same time, organic filter media materials have become increasingly popular, as they are seen as a "green" alternative. Commonly used synthetic materials include sintered glass, glass wool, ceramics, porous metals and a diverse set of plastics, including polysulfone, polypropylene and polyvinylidene chloride. Commonly used organic materials, on the other hand, include paper, sand, peat, crushed granite, a variety of different cellulose-based materials, activated clay or carbons and diatomaceous earth. Activated carbons are popular both for the tasks of dissolving chemical impurities like surfactants and acids and water treatment. On the other hand, diatomaceous earth, which is also known as kieselguhr and composed primarily of silica, offers low bulk-density and high absorption.
Filter media is selected for an individual application based on several different factors related to the capabilities, qualities and capacities of any given filter media in comparison to the needs of application. These factors include the requirements of the application as they pertain to: absorption and efficiency, filtration grade, filter load capacity, filter location, flow rate, maximum flow, stream temperature and stream viscosity. They may be selected to capture particles as small as .3 nanometers, or they may be selected to only catch very large particles. In addition, filter media is also often chosen based on its ability to help companies comply with the water and air purity regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as a variety of other national and international organizations and committees. Regulation compliance is especially important to those with applications relating to the purification of drinking water, food processing, chemical processing, mining, medicine and general sewage and water treatment. Well functioning filters and filter media is also incredibly important to the health and wellbeing of workers and processes alike in industrial settings. Improperly implemented or insufficient filtration in industrial settings can lead to many dire consequences, including mechanical failure of equipment, clogging of equipment, product contamination and worker sickness.
Users of filtration devices may use their systems in a variety of different ways, depending on their needs. For example, some applications only require that filter media be used in one device, while others may require that the filter media be used in conjunction with other cartridges or panels, which may be similarly or dissimilarly composed. All of this is done in the pursuit of maximum filtration. For more information regarding filter media, filters and all other aspects of filtration, contact an experienced filtration system manufacturer. For the best results, browse the many excellent manufacturers listed here on this page. IQS partners with only the most trusted and reliable manufacturers on the market.