This section is from the book "A Treatise On Beverages or The Complete Practical Bottler", by Charles Herman Sulz. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Beverages.
In the common method of filtration no pressure is exerted beyond that of the weight of the column of the liquid resting on the filtering medium, but in some cases additional pressure is employed. This is had recourse to for the purpose of producing a more rapid filtration, and more especially for filtering liquids that, from their viscidity, will scarcely pass through the pores of substances sufficiently fine to remove their impurities in the ordinary wav.
One of the easiest means of employing pressure in filtration is to increase the height of the column of the filtering liquid. From the peculiar properties of fluids, by which they transmit pressure in an equal degree in all directions, this column need not be of equai diameter throughout, but may be conveniently contracted to the size of a small pipe, -as in the accompanying engraving, which represents a small filter on this construction at work, a is the funnel or reservoir of foul liquid; b a small pipe conveying the liquid to the filter; c c, a chamber, of which the upper portion d is filled with the descending liquid, and the lower portion e with the filtering media; i i are screws by which the bottom plate is fastened on, which plate is removed to clean out or renew the filter. For use, the cocks k and I are closed and the liquid poured into the funnel a; the cock k is next opened, and, in a few minutes after, the cock I, when an uninterrupted flow of filtered liquor will bo obtained as long as any fluid remains in the funnel a and the tube b. The length of the tube determines the degree of pressure. Care must be taken first to pass the foul liquid through a hair sieve, or some other strainer, to remove any substance that might choke up the pipe b.
Another method of employing pressure in- filtration is the withdrawal of the air from the receiving vessel, as in the vacuum filter, by which a pressure of about 14 1/2 lbs. to the square inch becomes exerted on the surface of the liquid by the atmosphere. The vacuum in the receiving vessel may be produced by the air-pump, by steam, or by the Bunsen or Sprengel pump.
A commoner method of applying pressure than either of those already mentioned is to condense the air over the surface of the liquid by means of a force-pump or by steam.
The application of pressure to filtration is not always advantageous, and beyond a certain limit is generally attended with inconvenience, if not with absolute disadvantage. It is found in practice that fluids under pressure take a longer period to run clear than without pressure, and that ruptures of the media more frequently take place in the former case, or with pressure, than in the latter. Great pressure is in no case advantageous.