Prior to performing an integrity test, it is imperative that the pore structure of the filter membrane be filled with the wetting fluid. To assure complete wetting, Pall recommends applying downstream flow restriction (sometimes referred to as back pressure, not to be confused with reverse pressure) during the filter flush.
The use of a downstream flow restriction helps to:
- Ensure uniform flow distribution through the entire length of the filter
- Overcome the tendency for fluid to flow through the path of least resistance.
- Remove air entrapped in the membrane pleats, by further solubilizing the air (due to increased pressure in the system) and by compressing air bubbles to a size where they can freely pass through the membrane.
When testing filters larger than 254 mm (10 in.) or multi-round systems, a downstream flow restriction will ensure the fluid reaches the top of the housing during venting. Otherwise, the hydrostatic pressure of the liquid will cause it to flow out of the downstream side of the housing before reaching the vent at the highest point in the system.
To apply a downstream flow restriction, Pall recommends installing a pressure gauge downstream of the filter housing, followed by a flow control valve such as a diaphragm valve.
For more information, please see Pall Publication, USD3297_User Guide: Wetting and Flushing of Pall Microbially_Rated_Filter Cartridges and Capsules