Membrane filtration is a process that is widely used nowadays. From desalination plants for the production of drinking water from sea water in the Middle East to the production of dairy products, beer and wine. One of the biggest challenges in membrane filtration is the decrease in efficiency caused by the accumulation of matter on top of the membrane (filter) what we call cake layer. For that reason understanding the mechanisms of cake layer formation as well as individual particle behavior is important to achieve the optimization of the membrane process.
In this thesis we take a fundamental approach to study the cake layer formation and behavior as well as individual particle behavior. We use microgels as model particles and microfluidic systems as model filtration systems. We are able to describe their behavior and propose a theory to predict particle conformation under pressure being part of a cake layer.