An artificial membrane, also called a synthetic membrane, is a membrane prepared for separation tasks in Laboratory and industry. Its active part, which permits selective transport of material, usually consists of Polymers or Ceramics, seldom Glass or Metals. A membrane may contain auxiliary parts for mechanical support, drainage, patch etc.
The driving force of the material transport is given by Concentration, Pressure, electrical or Chemical gradient across the membrane. Membranes can be prepared in the form of flat sheets, tubes, capillaries and hollow fibres. Membranes are built in membrane systems like plate and frame, spiral-wound module, hollow fibre module, tube-in-shell module. Some of the most common artificial membranes are Polymer. Under some conditions Ceramic can be utilized with advantage.
Such membranes are employed in a wide range of Membranes, such as Microfiltration, Ultrafiltration, Reverse osmosis, Pervaporation, Gas separation, Dialysis or Chromatography. The applications depend on the type of functionality incorporated in the membrane, which can be based on size-exclusion, Chemical or Electrostatics.
Typical applications in which membranes have been used are Water, removal of Microorganisms in Dairy products, Water Desalination, Dehydrogenation of Natural gas, Hemodialysis or as components of Fuel cells.