Crossflow filtration is a key process step in many operating and planned waste treatment facilities to separate undissolved solids from supernate slurries. This separation technology generally has the advantage of self cleaning through the action of wall shear stress, which is created by the flow of waste slurry through the filter tubes. However, the ability of filter wall self cleaning depends on the slurry being filtered. Many of the alkaline radioactive wastes are extremely challenging to filtration, e.g., those containing compounds of aluminum and iron, which have particles whose size and morphology reduces permeability. Low filter flux can be a bottleneck in waste processing facilities such as the Salt Waste Processing Facility at the Savannah River Site and the Waste Treatment Plant at the Hanford Site. Any improvement to the filtration rate would lead directly to increased throughput of the entire process. To date, increased rates are generally realized by either increasing the crossflow filter axial flowrate, which is limited by pump capacity, or by increasing filter surface area, which is limited by space and increases the required pump load. In the interest of accelerating waste treatment processing, DOE has funded studies to better understand filtration with the goal of improving filter fluxes in existing crossflow equipment. The Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) was included in those studies, with a focus on startup techniques and filter cake development. This paper discusses those filter studies. SRNL set up both dead-end and crossflow filter tests to better understand filter performance based on filter media structure, flow conditions, and filter cleaning. Using non-radioactive simulated wastes, which were both chemically and physically similar to the actual radioactive wastes, the authors performed several tests to demonstrate increases in filter performance. With the proper use of filter flow conditions filter flow rates can be increased over rates currently realized today. This paper describes the selection of a challenging simulated waste and crossflow filter tests to demonstrate how performance can be improved over current operation.

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