Case 13474

Liquid Filtration Using Pressure Difference Across a Hydrophobic Membrane


Liquid filtration, Vapor phase transport, Hydrophobic membranes, desalination


Water desalination and purification

  • High energy requirements, high cost, fouling issues, pre-treatment requirements, and the low flux of current water treatment technologies


The device for filtering liquid includes a feed chamber, a permeate chamber, and a porous membrane that is at least partially hydrophobic and has one or more pores configured to be permeable to vapor. A pressure of a liquid substance in the feed chamber is increased such that vapor of the liquid substance is transported from the feed chamber to the permeate chamber. In particular, the pressure difference produces a difference in vapor pressure across a hydrophobic membrane to filter the liquid as desired. A second porous membrane may be included to lower the flow resistance of the vapor.

  • High filtering flux
  • Lower viscous loss
  • High selectivity
  • Flexibility in material of manufacture
  • Can leverage existing reverse osmosis infrastructure

  • Professor Rohit N. Karnik (Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT)
  • Jongho Lee (Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT)

Intellectual Property:

US Patent and PCT filed on January 11, 2010



Last revised:November 24, 2010

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