Even though we interact with the pharmaceutical industry frequently, there are many people who don’t know the first thing about how it works. We’re hoping to begin changing that today by looking more closely at its inner workings. Read on to discover the most common filters used in the pharmaceutical industry.
What Are Filters For?
Filtration is necessary throughout the pharmaceutical production process. Whether it’s making vitamins, specialty enzymes, or running diagnostics, sterilization, chemical filtration, and prefiltration are essential in the pharmaceutical world.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a filter is the size of the particles that a scientist will remove. Some filters allow you to remove large particles, like those the size of sand grains, while others filter out microscopic bacteria!
Ultrafiltration removes particles that are 0.01 microns or larger. This is usually the step that comes before reverse osmosis or nanofiltration, which deals with even smaller particles. When a pharmaceutical scientist needs to remove microorganisms, large particles, and viruses from a solution, this is often the first step.
Nanofiltration gets even smaller than ultrafiltration, targeting particles of 0.001 microns or larger. When scientists need biological pharmaceutical filtration to remove contaminants from water, this is the go-to process. Nanofiltration is also common in water softening, as hard water that passes through a nanofiltration membrane becomes soft.
Reverse Osmosis Membranes
Reverse osmosis filters have teeny-tiny pore sizes, usually around 0.0001 microns. A micron is one twenty-five thousandth of an inch. This is a filter that’s ten thousand times smaller than that!
Reverse osmosis membranes remove viruses, molecules, and minerals from water, in addition to desalinating water. This effectively turns water into pure water.
Now that you know the most common filters used in the pharmaceutical industry, we hope you have a greater appreciation for all the fascinating technology that science has developed through the years to help keep us healthy.