Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters are used extensively throughout the chemical process industries in applications from laboratory-scale to commercial operations ranging to more than 5,000 gpm. Figure 1 shows a photograph of a series of units that serve as a pretreatment stage to an RO unit for water treatment. Quite often cartridge filters are used as a pretreatment stage, but occasionally they may serve as polishing filters and even stand-alone systems.

Table 1 lists typical filtering applications and operating ranges. The simplest and oldest types of designs include a series of thin metal disks that are 3-10 inches in diameter and set in a vertical stack with very narrow uniform spaces between them. The disks are supported on a vertical hollow shaft and fit into a closed cylindrical casing. Liquid is fed to the casing under pressure, from where it flows inward between the disks to openings in the central shaft and out through the top of the casing. Te suspended solids are captured between the disks and remain on the filter. As most of the solids are removed at the periphery of the disks, the unit is referred to as an edge filter. The accumulated solids are removed periodically from the cartridge.

Figure 1. Battery of cartridge filters used for water pretreatment in an RO process,

Table 1. Typical Operating Ranges of Cartridge Filters


Filtration Range


Filtration Range


60 mesh - 60 ¡j.m


1 - 3 ¡im



Hydrocarbon wax

25 - 30 /im

Ethyl alcohol

5-10 ¿im


250 mesh

Ferric chloride

30-250 mesh

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