Different types of filtration systems are used to separate substances of matter from one another. Nanofiltration is a relatively new kind of filtration that ORA has found applications for in both our M1-Nano and D-1 Disposable masks. But what is Nanofiltration and how does it compare to other types of filtration out there? Let’s first dive into the basics of any filtration system.
What is Filtration?
According to Britannica, filtration is the “process in which solid particles in a liquid or gaseous fluid are removed by the use of a filter medium that permits the fluid to pass through but retains the solid particles.” In other words, it filters the solids and liquids, separating them for the use of either one. Pretty straightforward, don’t you think?
Well, there are three main types of filtration that include the following:
Biological filtration uses beneficial bacteria to filter out bacteria on the molecular level. Manufactured biological filters emulate natural biological filters, for example, the tiny rocks and pebbles at a bottom of a lake have colonized bacteria that naturally filter out harmful toxins. For example, this system can convert harmful ammonia into nitrates for the health and safety of aquatic life living in the water.
Mechanical filtration uses sponges, mesh materials, filter pads, and other similar mechanisms to physically filter out debris from the water. Mechanical filtration collects all the waste into the filtering mechanism that will later be thrown out and replaced.
Chemical filtration uses resins and activated carbon to remove impurities and harmful bacteria in water.
There are a few parts to the puzzle here. For all types of filtration, there are set mechanics and parts required that include the following:
- A filter medium
- Fluid or gas with suspended solids
- A driving force (such as pressure)
- Centrifugation (in which the tube is placed in a rotor and spun)
The result of all these pieces together is what creates the mechanical system of the filtering process.
What Is Nanofiltration?
Now that we know the basics of filtration systems, Nanofiltration is quite simply a filtration system which filters substances at the nanometer level- that’s (1x10^-9) meters.
We can see examples of this in drinking water. Over the past decade, nanofiltration has been used to remove pollutants from surface water and groundwater to provide us with clean drinking water. This method of filtration has increased the standards of quality drinking water on an industrial scale and removes hardness, micropollutants such as pesticides, viruses, bacterias, and more.
The same process is implemented to filter wastewater, which separates contaminants from water streams. This includes oily wastewater from gasoline and diesel that contaminates rivers or waterways. Pressure and heat work together with the nanofiltration system to effectively filter all the harmful things out of our water.
Also, the nanofiltration process is used to remove nanoparticles in in-vitro fertilization treatments, and used for medical purposes.
ORÅ masks are a new and exciting application for nanofiltration in which solids are filtered from the air you inhale and exhale at the nanoscale (1x10-9).
This type of the filtration would be considered mechanical filtration in which the mechanics are:
- Filter Medium: ORÅ Nanofiber Filter
- Driving force: Inhalation/ Exhalation
- Mechanical System: The Mask
Nanofiber is at the core of ORÅ Brand’s nanofiltration. Through a process known as electrospinning, nanofiber can be weaved into a non-woven pattern that creates pores that are even smaller than the nanofiber itself. In comparison to melt-blown polypropylene, a
With this, we can wrap our heads around the whole process. Filters are a simple concept but sometimes the science behind it all is a little more complex.
ORÅ nanofiltration is unique in that filters substances at the nanoscale vs. the micro-scale, which makes our masks more effective and safer than many other masks out there.
Advancements in technology will only improve face masks over time, and we're happy to be at the forefront of these developments. In fact, our company is now looking for other ways to utilize nanofiltration to increase safety and peace of mind in our daily lives.