The Guide to Polypropylene Filter Fabrics and Their Applications
Polypropylene filter fabrics are highly versatile polymer plastics that are used in a wide range of filtration applications due to their excellent chemical resistance, low cost, and high durability. This post explores the most common applications of polypropylene, helping inform ways you can benefit from using the material as a filter fabric in your industry.
What Is A Polypropylene Filter?
In its simplest form, polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer. It is part of the larger plastic family, and is one of the most commonly produced plastics around the world. It is made through a process of distilling hydrocarbon fuels and, as the name suggests, combining the propylene with a number of other monomers.
As a filtration media, polypropylene is bonded together with layers of polypropylene fibers to create a fine mesh. This mesh is then used to filter out particles and impurities from liquids or gasses. Polypropylene filters are very effective due to their high particulate-holding capacity, low-pressure drop, and excellent chemical resistance. This post will explore additional advantages below.
Common Uses of Polypropylene
Polypropylene filter fabrics can be used for both liquid and air filtration. They are commonly used in wastewater treatment plants, chemical processing plants, pharmaceutical, nutra-pharmaceutical, food and beverage production, and in the automotive industry.
The following is a more in-depth look at how polypropylene filtration is commonly implemented:
- Water filtration: Polypropylene filter fabrics are commonly used in water treatment plants to remove suspended solids, such as sand and silt, from water.
- Air filtration: Polypropylene filter fabrics in air filtration systems remove dust, pollen, and other particles from the air.
- Pharmaceutical and chemical processing: These processing industries use polypropylene filter fabrics in chemical processing plants to filter out impurities and separate precipitate’s from process streams.
- Food and beverage production: When producing food and beverages for human consumption, polypropylene filter fabrics are used in the production of food and beverages to filter out impurities and contaminants from the products.
- Automotive industry: Polypropylene filter fabrics are used in the manufacturing of air filters for cars and trucks to remove pollutants and particles from the air that is drawn into the engine.
As demonstrated, polypropylene filter fabrics are very versatile and are therefore implemented in many settings.
Advantages of Polypropylene
Beyond its impressive versatility, polypropylene filters fabrics offer a number of other advantages.
To begin, polypropylene filter fabrics are often drastically more affordable than their filtration media counterparts.
Environmentally speaking, polypropylene can be recycled much easier than other plastics. Since it is used in so many different settings, the fact that it can be recycled makes it one of the most environmentally friendly filtration media options.
Next, polypropylene is both biologically and chemically resistant and can withstand contact with a number of different chemicals, fungi and bacteria without compromising the integrity of the product.
Because it is very resistant to electricity, it is an excellent insulator.
Finally, polypropylene is stable; this means that when used in different implementations where it will be bent, moved, pressurized, etc., it will maintain its shape. When it is produced into a filter fabric, it is very malleable, and still effective at filtering.
Limitations of Polypropylene Filter Fabrics
Heat sensitivity: Polypropylene has a moderate melting point so it can be damaged or deformed by very high temperatures. Therefore, it is not recommended for use in high-temperature applications. It is referred to as a “thermoplastic” because of its low melting point. It’s worth noting that while this may be a limitation when trying to use polypropylene in high-heat settings, the material itself can be melted and reused without notable deterioration.
UV degradation: Although heat degradation is not often a challenge, UV degradation can compromise the long-term effectiveness of polypropylene filters. Polypropylene fibers can degrade when exposed to sunlight, which can cause them to become brittle and lose their strength over time.
Static electricity: Polypropylene fabrics may generate static electricity, which may be a problem in certain environments, such as hospitals, where it can interfere with electronic equipment. However, there are polypropylene materials that have static charge-dissipating properties.
Stiffness: Polypropylene fibers can be stiff and difficult to work with, which can limit their use in some applications, such as clothing or upholstery. This limitation will likely have little impact if you are using polypropylene as a filtration media.
Overall, polypropylene fabrics are versatile and durable materials that are widely used in many applications. However, it is important to be aware of their limitations and choose the right material for the intended use. Relying on experts such as those at Filter Holdings is a great way to ensure you are using the right filtration media for your needs.
Common Questions About Polypropylene
Is polypropylene toxic?
Polypropylene has undergone a multitude of testing by the FDA since it is used in food storage containers, and food and beverage filtration systems. The FDA posits that there are no cancer-causing properties in polypropylene.
Is polypropylene the same as polyester?
While they are both polymers, polypropylene and polyester are not the same. Polyester is derived from synthetic materials. It is much less water resistant, but more UV resistant. It also has a higher melting point.
Polypropylene filter fabrics are a type of industrial plastic that is extremely versatile. When used as a filtration fabric, it is effective at filtering both air and liquid. At Filter Holdings, we have a full range of high-quality filter fabrics. Contact our team to learn more.