Biomedical Microdevices

, 21:12 | Cite as

Co-current crossflow microfiltration in a microchannel

  • Levy I. AmarEmail author
  • Michael I. Hill
  • Monica Faria
  • Daniela Guisado
  • Cees J. M. van Rijn
  • Edward F. Leonard


Steady state crossflow microfiltration (CMF) is an important and often necessary means of particle separation and concentration for both industrial and biomedical processes. The factors controlling the performance of CMF have been extensively reviewed. A major factor is transmembrane pressure (TMP). Because microchannels have small height, they tend to have high pressure gradients in the feed-flow direction. In the extreme, these gradients may even reverse the pressure across the membrane (inciting backflow). It is therefore desirable to compensate for the effect of feed-flow on the TMP, aiming at constant transmembrane pressure (cTMP) at a value which maximizes filtrate flux. This is especially critical during filtration of deformable particles (e.g. erythrocytes) through low intrinsic resistance membranes. Filtration flux is generally taken to be directly proportional to TMP, with pressure drop along the channel decreasing in the flow direction. A co-current flow of filtrate in a suitably designed filtrate collecting channel is shown to allow the TMP to remain constant and permit the sieving surface to perform optimally, permitting up to twice as much filtration over that of a naïve configuration. Manipulation of the filtrate channel may be even more beneficial if it prevents backflow that might otherwise occur at the end of a sufficiently long channel. Experiments with erythrocyte suspensions, reported here, validate these concepts.


Cross-flow Microfluidics Microfiltration model Constant transmembrane pressure Microsieve Sieve Nanopores Blood Erythrocytes Plasma 



Support for this work was provided in part by Grant 1R21HL088162 from the National Institute of Health, and Vizio Medical Devices, LLC. The authors also thank Columbia Medical Center Blood Bank and blood donors. We acknowledge gratefully the assistance of Dr. Robert von Gutfeld as well as our whole medical team, most especially the late Dr. James Jones.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.MicroFluidics and NanoTechnology/ORCWageningen University StippenengWageningenThe Netherlands

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