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At this point in the process, Tangential Flow
Filtration is used to concentrate and diafilter the GFP product stream. We’re going to pump
a fluid through and across a special type of filter known as an ultrafiltration membrane.
The size of the pores in the filter material determines what passes through and what’s
held back. The solution that passes through the membrane
is referred to as the permeate. Because the pores of the ultrafiltration membrane are
small enough to keep the product from passing through, the permeate contains no product
and is sent to waste. The portion of the feed stream that does not permeate the membrane
is called the retentate. It contains the retained product and is the stream we are most interested
in. What makes TFF different is a core technology
that enables it to be faster, more efficient, more flexible and even self-cleaning. In conventional
filtration, a fluid is propelled directly into a filter. The particles within the stream
that can’t fit through the pores of the filter build up at the filter surface, eventually
clogging it. With TFF, the stream moves across the filter
– that is, tangential to the filter – instead of directly at it. The cross-flow current
actually picks material back out of the filter media or membrane and into the stream. This retained material – called retentate
– is recirculated to the supply tank and will continue to loop through the filter for
as long as the process runs.

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