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Table 1: Shows the filter media based on rigidity (Purchas, 1981)

Table 1 (taken from Tarleton and Wakeman, 2007) shows the general
guideline for classifications of different filter mediums. In another source, McCabe
et. al, 2005, it states that. “The septum in any filter must meet the following

1) It must retain the solids to be filtered, giving a reasonable clear filtrate.

2) It must not plug or blind.
3) It must be resistant chemically and strong enough physically to withstand
the process conditions.
4) It must permit the cake formed to discharge cleanly and completely
5) It must not be prohibitively expensive.

Canvas cloths are common filter mediums but when corrosive liquids are used, it
requires the use of other filter media, such as woolen cloth, metal cloth of monel or
stainless steel, glass cloth, or paper”.

Cake compressibility is another essential property which has to be considered

in this operation. Generally, there will only be 2 types of cakes which would be
formed, namely:

1) Compressible filter cakes;

2) Incompressible filter cakes.

For both different type of cakes, McCabe et. al, 2005, states that
“Compressible cakes are cakes where the flocs are deposited from the slurry on the
upstream face of the cake and form a complicated network of channels. The
resistance of such a cake is sensitive to the method used in preparing the slurry
and to the age and temperature of the material. In addition, the flocs are distorted
and broken down by the forces existing in the cake and vary from layer to layer.

In another case, where incompressible cakes are concerned, specific cake

resistance, α, varies with distance from the septum because the cake nearest to the
septum is subject to the greatest compressive force and has the lowest void
fraction. This makes the pressure gradient nonlinear and specific cake resistance
may also vary with time”

A good example of a compressible filter cake is the sludge of pulp and paper
wastewater treatment where when it is filtered, a cake with a considerably thick
layer is formed. If an incompressible filter cake is formed, for example using
charcoal as impurities within the solution, a cake will be formed and it barely retain
its shape giving difficulties in measuring cake thickness.

In order to do calculations for filtration experiments, a few important

equations have to be used in order to plot curve or measure a certain variable.
According to Tarleton and Wakeman, 2007, “The general filtration equation, where

pressure is considered to represent either pressure or vacuum, the filtration process
is most commonly analysed using the following equation:

dt dV =1q=μl αavcV+ARA2∆ p=μl αavcA2∆ pV+μlRA∆ p

Where V is the cumulative volume of filtrate, t the filtration time, q the filtrate flow
rate, A the filter medium area, ∆p the filtration pressure, μl the viscosity of liquid,
αav the average specific cake resistance, R the medium resistance and c the
effective feed concentration”.

Another equation for filtration, which is the filtration at constant pressure, is

stated by McCabe et. al, 2005, as follows:


Konieczny and Rafa, 2000, provided another equation which is used to

determine the volumetric flux of a filtration given by this formula:


Where Jsis the average filtration flux with respect to opening surfaces, Fo is the
opening surface of the filtration, and lastly Vo is the filtrate volume after time, to.

The usage of filter aids is another important technique that is frequently

applied to solve problems arising from slow filtration rate, unsatisfactory filtrate
clarity or rapid medium binding. According to Perry and Green, 1997, “Filter aids
are granular or fibrous solids capable of forming a highly permeable filter cake in
which very fine solids or slimy, deformable flocs may be trapped”. A very good way
of using this technique is the use of a more permeable filter medium than the
clarification would require to create filtrate of the same quality by depth filtration.

It is also stated in Perry and Green, 1997, that “filter aids should have low
buld density to minimize settling and aid good distribution on a filter-medium
surface that may not be horizontal. In addition to this, they should also be porous
and capable of forming a porous cake which is capable to minimize flow resistance
and chemically inert to the filtrate is a must”. Two examples of the most used filter
aids in the industry are:

1) Diatomaceous silica (prepared from deposits of diatom skeletons).

2) Perlite (principally aluminum alkali silicate).

There are ups and downs using plate and frame filter press as well. The
advantages of filter press is clearly stated in the specifications manual provided by
Lotus Scientific(M) Sdn. Bhd. A very good point about this filter press is that it is

easy to clean and replace filter cloth or membranes. Since it is easy to operate, this
leads to low maintenance cost as it does not give a tough time in cleaning nor
replacing filter cloths or membranes. Besides the mentioned advantages, it is also
capable of operating at high pressure conditions in either a cake-filter or a
clarifying-filter application. Aside from that, filter press provides large area for
filtration on a small floor space. The capacity can also be adjusted simply by
inserting or removing plates and frames. Lastly, internal inspection can easily be
conducted as leakage is easily detected. With all the characteristics mentioned and
its simplicity in operability, it makes filter press one of the most frequently used
filters in the industries.

However, there are also disadvantages for a plate and frame filter press. As
cake densities are varying, it leads to imperfect washing. According to Perry and
Green, 1997, “filter-cloth life is relatively short due to the mechanical wear of
emptying and cleaning the press (often involving scraping the cloth). It needs a
high labour requirements as well. Presses frequently drip or leak and thereby create
housekeeping problems, but the biggest problem arises from the requirement to
open the filter for cake discharge. This is due to the fact that operators are thus
exposed routinely to the contents of the filter, and this is becoming an increasingly
severe disadvantage as more and more materials once believed safe are given
restricted exposure limits”. Another disadvantage mentioned in the specifications
manual provided by Lotus Scientific(M) Sdn. Bhd. is when larger feed concentration
is used, inlet ports of the filter have a tendency to encounter blockage or leakage.
This will affect the possibility of improper filtration.”


Figure 3: Plate and frame filter press in laboratory.

Based on figure 3, the tank is where the feed is put into and the feed is then
pumped into the plate and frames filter. Before it is operated, appropriate filter
paper or filter cloth is to be placed within the plate and frames. Turn the stem to
ensure the plates and frames are fully tighten up so no leakage would occur. This
equipment contains 2 valves, 1 controlling pressure and another controlling flow
rate. Make sure both valves are appropriately open to ensure the machine is
working fine. As the feed passes through the plate and frames, it will then be
discharged back as filtrate into the tank through the upper hose and the process is
continued until the feed in tank is crystal clear. Tank is stirred throughout the whole
experiment to ensure everything gets filtered. This machine has a tray with a hole
for water to run off to the pail when leakage occurred or when cleaning is in

Preparation of mixture:

Adequate amount of paper is shredded beforehand. 5kg of shredded paper would

be more than sufficient for this experiment.

Paper sludge: Shredded paper (approx: 250g, 350g, 450g) is then blended together
with 20 liter of waters.

Filter papers are used in this experiment as this is the only available selection in

Difficulties of Experiment:

The first difficulty of this experiment is the lack of equipment in laboratory. Without
the availability of an equipment to melt the feed at its melting point, viscosity is
unobtainable which gives problems in using most of the filtration equations as it
requires viscosity.

The only available filter media available in laboratory is filter paper. Filter cloths and
other sorts of filter media are not available and the feed used is something which
filter paper will be able to filter. The first group dealt with fly ash in their first
attempt and filter paper failed to filter fly ash as size of fly ash is smaller than that
of the holes in filter paper.

Experiments suggested in the specifications manual is unusable due to the fact that
viscosity is obtainable.


1) Fill the tank with paper sludge mixture.
2) Set the valve to fully open and turn on the equipment.
3) Obtain the volume of filtrate at the interval of every 20 seconds. Run this
process for a time length of 6 minutes.
4) Obtain the pressure of filter press at the interval of every 2 minutes. Let this
process runs until the mixture of paper sludge becomes clear.
5) Repeat steps 1 to 5 by using mixture that contains 350g then 450g of
blended paper.


1) Plot graph of pressure vs time for all 3 mixtures with different


2) Plot graph of volumetric flux vs time for all three mixtures.

3) Calculate the % reduction of solids in mixture ( for all three concentrations)

Weight of cake = initial weight of solids before filtration – dry weight of cake

% reduction = (weight of cake / weigh of solid in mixture) x 100%

Then plot graph of % reduction of solids in mixture vs number of plates.

12.5g/L 17.5g/L 22.5g/L

Time(s) Flux (ml/m2.s) Flux (ml/m2.s) Flux (ml/m2.s)

20 208.33 188.89 94.44
40 200.00 183.33 91.67
60 197.22 175.00 88.89
80 194.44 166.67 86.11
100 188.89 166.67 83.33
120 177.78 163.89 75.00
140 175.00 155.56 66.67
160 166.67 144.44 58.33
180 158.33 136.11 61.11
200 155.56 130.56 52.78
220 150.00 127.78 52.78
240 147.22 122.22 50.00
260 150.00 122.22 47.22
280 144.44 122.22 44.44
300 141.67 119.44 41.67
320 138.89 116.67 41.67
340 138.89 116.67 41.67
360 138.89 116.67 41.67
Table 2: Shows the variation of flux over time for 12.5g/L, 17.5g/L and 22.5g/L of
paper sludge.

12.5g/L 17.5g/L 22.5g/L

Time(min) P(MPa) P(MPa) P(MPa)

0 0.10 0.10 0.16
2 0.12 0.14 0.168
4 0.13 0.15 0.17
6 0.14 0.158 0.17
8 0.14 0.16 0.17
10 0.14 0.16 0.17
12 0.14 0.16 0.17
14 0.14 0.16 0.17
16 0.14 0.16 0.17
18 0.14 0.16 0.17
20 0.14 0.16 0.17
Table 3: Shows the variation of pressure over time for 12.5g/L, 17.5g/L and
22.5g/L of paper sludge.

% Reduction of solids
Paper Sludge (g/L) Wi Wf in mixture

12.5 1454 240 96

17.5 1702 328 93.71428571

22.5 1890 412 91.55555556

Table 4: Shows the variation of % reduction of solids in mixture over 12.5g/L,
17.5g/L and 22.5g/L of paper sludge used.

Figure 4: Shows the relationship for flux against time for 12.5g/L, 17.5g/L and
22.5g/L of paper sludge.

Figure 5: Shows the relationship between pressure against time for 12.5g/L,
17.5g/L and 22.5g/L of paper sludge.

Figure 6: Shows the relationship between % reductions of solids in mixture versus
concentration of mixture.

Plate and frame filtration is a well-known solid liquid separation equipment
within industries which include chemical producers, pharmaceutical and also as well
as food and beverages industry. This is mainly due to the easy operability and
efficiency of this equipment. An experiment has been conducted using this
equipment and preparations are made in order to conduct the experiment.

Newspaper sludge has been agreed to be the feed used in this experiment
and it can definitely be used to represent pulp and paper wastewater treatment
industry. Preparations made were to shred a total of 5kg newspapers. Shredded
newspapers are then separated into 250g, 350g and 450g before each of it is
individually blended to create newspaper sludge.

As stated earlier, the first objective set is to determine the relationship

between the concentration of mixture and the volumetric flux. Table 2 shows the
volumetric flux as time increases and figure 4 summarizes the relationship. It can
be seen that as time increases flux would decrease exponentially for all 3
concentrations until a certain time where the flux will be constant thereafter. By
referring to the equation:

JO=VOA . to

Area, A and time, to are constant values and volume is the is only factor affecting
flux. As volume increase, flux tends to increase as well. The factor that affects
volume is the concentration of newspaper sludge. A higher concentration of
newspaper sludge will tend to increase the cake thickness as it is filtered and this
will affect the flow rate as a thicker cake will reduce the flow rate of the outlet. This
is the case seen in this experiment as with reference to figure 4, an increased in
concentration of newspaper sludge will give a decreasing volumetric flux value

which is expected to happen. Thus, a relationship between concentration of mixture
and the volumetric flux can be formed whereby a higher concentration of mixture
leads to a decreasing volumetric flux.

The second objective mentioned in this experiment is to determine the effect

of concentration of mixture on pressure of the filter pump. In this experiment, there
are 2 valves involved, one controlling pressure and the other controlling flow rate.
In order to measure the pressure of the filter pump, the pressure valve is fully
opened allowing pump to work effectively and pressure readings can be read at the
pressure gauge attached. Results produced in the experiment are summarized in
table 3 and the variation of pressure over time is more obvious in figure 5.

With reference to figure 5, it is clearly seen that as time passes, pressure

increases up to a certain extend where it remained constant thereafter. This
phenomenon is due to the increased in filter cake thickness in each plate and
frames. As filter cake thickness is increased, pressure gauge gives a higher reading
for pressure which indicates pressure is increasing. After a certain period of time,
the pressure gauge reading remained constant and this happens because the plate
and frame reached the limit of filtration and the cakes formed reached its maximum
thickness. By this time, filtration would occur at a very low rate and filtrate
discharge is usually crystal clear by this time. One of the factors which play an
important role to determine the variation in pressure is the concentration of
newspaper sludge. Over time, higher concentration would mean cake gets thicker in
a quicker manner thus giving off a higher pressure reading. Referring to figure 5, it
can clearly be seen that 12.5g/L of newspaper sludge gives a higher pressure
readings compared to 17.5g/L and 22.5g/L which is true in this case. So, the effects
of concentration on pressure of pump can be concluded as a higher concentration
gives an increasing pressure on pump.

The last objective for this experiment is to actually determine the percentage
reduction of solid in mixture and the efficiency of the plate and frame filter press.
This can be done by removing cake and it is then dried up in an oven. After drying,
it is then weighed to get the mass remaining, which is the amount of solids
removed from filtrate and this value then leads to the final objective of this
experiment. As shown in figure 6, percentage reduction of solid in mixture is
decreasing as concentration of newspaper sludge is increased. This is mainly due to
the concentration issue. As concentration is increased, more and more solids within
the filtrate failed to be filtered out because the plate and frame has reached its
maximum capacity which leads to the decreased in the percentage reduction of
solid in mixture which is also the efficiency.

There are problems and difficulties encountered in this experiment as well.

One of the most important issues faced is the inability to measure viscosity of feed

which is a very important variable in this experiment. In order to do this,
newspaper sludge has to be heated until it is over its melting point in order to
measure using a viscometer. Since equipments in laboratory is limited, it is
impossible to measure the viscosity since there isn’t any equipment to heat
newspaper sludge to its melting point. Without viscosity readings, most of the
equations cannot be used as it will leave an unsolved variable in calculations.

Another problem faced when conducting this experiment is the inaccuracy of

some data shown on figure 4. One of the reasons that lead to this discrepancy is
due to the lack of equipments. With inadequate equipments supplied in laboratory,
inaccuracy of some readings is totally inevitable. There might be some parallax
error while reading the water level as well which might contribute to inaccuracy

In conclusion, increased in concentration of mixture will lead to a decrease in
volumetric flow. In addition, increased in concentration of mixture will also lead to
the increase in pressure of the filter pump. Lastly, the percentage reduction of
solids in mixture and efficiency decreases as concentration increases.

S ym b o l Unit Definition

t s Time

V mL Volume

P MPa Pressure

JO m l / m 2s Volumetric flux
Wi g Initial weight of cake before drying
Wf g Final weight of cake after drying

1) Gaur, R.C. 2008, Basic Environmental Engineering, New Age International (P)
Limited, Publishers, New Delhi.
2) Richardson, J. F., Harker,J. H. 2002, Coulson and Richardson’s Chemical
Engineering Volume 2: Particle Technology and Separation Processes, Fifth
Edition, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford.
3) Tarleton, S., Wakeman, R. 2003, Solid/Liquid Separation: Equipment
Selection and Process Design, First Edition, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford.
4) McCabe, W. L. et al. 2005, Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering, Seventh
Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York.
5) Perry, R. H. 1999, Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook, Seventh Edition,
McGraw-Hill, New York.
6) Konieczny, K, Rafa J. 2000, Modeling of the Membrane Filtration Process of
Natural Waters, Polsh Journal of Environmental Studies Vol. 9, No. 1 (2000),

Raw Data

T(s) V(ml) P(MPa)

20 750 1 .7
40 720 1 .7
60 710 1 .7
80 700 1 .7
100 680 1 .7
120 640 1 .7
140 630 1 .7
160 600 1 .7
180 570 1 .7
200 560 1 .7
220 540 1 .7
240 530 1 .7
260 540 1 .7
280 520 1 .7
300 510 1 .7
320 500 1 .7
340 500 1 .7
360 500 1 .7
Table 5: Shows the Volume collected and pressure change for 12.5g/L of paper

T(min) P(MPa)
0 0.10
2 0.12
4 0.13
6 0.14
8 0.14
10 0.14
12 0.14
14 0.14
16 0.14
18 0.14
20 0.14
Table 6: Shows the Pressure change for 12.5g/L of paper sludge.

T(s) V(ml) (MPa)
20 680 0.160
40 660 0.160
60 630 0.160
80 600 0.155
100 600 0.140
120 590 0.150
140 560 0.160
160 520 0.160
180 490 0.160
200 470 0.160
220 460 0.160
240 440 0.160
260 440 0.160
280 440 0.160
300 430 0.160
320 420 0.160
340 420 0.160
360 420 0.160
Table 7: Shows the Volume collected and pressure change for 17.5g/L of paper

T(min) P(MPa)
0 0.10
2 0.14
4 0.15
6 0.158
8 0.16
10 0.16
12 0.16
14 0.16
16 0.16
18 0.16
20 0.16
Table 8: Shows the Pressure change for 12.5g/L of paper sludge.

Time, T(s) Volume,V(ml) Pressure, P ( M P a)

20 340 0.165
40 330 0.165
60 320 0.160
80 310 0.160
100 300 0.155
120 270 0.155
140 240 0.155
160 210 0.155
180 220 0.160
200 190 0.155
220 190 0.150
240 180 0.150
260 170 0.150
280 160 0.160
300 150 0.168
320 150 0.160
340 150 0.140
360 150 0.160
Table 9: Shows the Volume collected and pressure change for 22.5g/L of paper

T(min) P(MPa)
0 0.16
2 0.168
4 0.17
6 0.17
8 0.17
10 0.17
12 0.17
14 0.17
16 0.17
18 0.17
20 0.17
Table 10: Shows the Pressure change for 22.5g/L of paper sludge.


1) Conversion of paper sludge mass to concentration of paper sludge in water

Example: 250g of paper sludge mixed with 20L of water


C O = 2 5 0 g2 0 L = 1 2 . 5 g L

2) Area of plate and frame filter press.

Area for 1 filter cake is given as 0.03m2

Since there are 6 cakes involved, area of 6 filter cakes is 0.03 X 6 = 0.18m2

3) Volumetric flux

Example: 12.5g/L at 20s; V = 750mL,

Using the formula: JO=VOA . to


J O = 2 0 8 . 3 3 ml m 2 . s

4) % Reduction of solids in mixture

Example: 12.5g/L of paper sludge; Final weight of paper sludge is 240g

Using the formula:

% R edu ct i o n= Fi nal w e i gh t of c a ke after dr yi n Initial w ei gh t of pap er sl ud ge

b e f or e fi l tr ati on×100

% Reduction=24012.5×20×100=96%


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