what is a micron

Picture this: You turn on the faucet and clear water flows out. But have you ever considered that there might be some unseen impurities lurking inside? Have you ever wondered how to remove these tiny particles and impurities from drinking water? This is where the micron comes into play. So what is a micron? What size is a micron?  In this article, we will focus on this question and learn about the various micron sizes commonly used in water filtration and how they affect the filtration process. Helping you make an informed decision when selecting the correct filtration system for your needs.

What Is a Micron?

what is 1 micron

Micron is a unit of measurement commonly used to express particle size or filter pore size. The symbol for microns is μm. In the context of water filtration, a micron rating refers to the particle size that a filter can effectively remove from water. Micron ratings are often used to indicate the effectiveness of different types of water filters. Filters with a lower micron rating, such as 0.5 or 1 micron, are generally more effective at removing fine sediment, debris, and microbes from water. Filters with a higher micron rating (such as 5 or 10 microns) are better at removing larger particles but may allow smaller contaminants to pass through.

How many microns is that millimeter? What is a micron in mm? To convert microns (μm) to millimeters (mm), you need to divide the micron value by 1000 since there are 1000 microns in a millimeter. The conversion formula is as follows:

  • mm = microns / 1000

For example, suppose you have a measurement of 5000 microns and you want to convert it to millimeters:

  • mm = 5000 microns / 1000 = 5 millimeters

Therefore, 5000 microns equals 5 millimeters.

Common Micron Sizes

In the previous content, we have answered your question of what is a micron, and the effectiveness of water filtration usually depends on the micron size of the filter, what size is a micron? If you want to know more about water filter micron rating, read on.

1. What Is 1 Micron?

Filters with a 1-micron rating are very effective at removing fine sediment, silt, and small particles. They capture contaminants such as rust, sand, dust, and some microbes, providing excellent filtration for drinking water. Recommended for applications where the removal of fine particles is critical, such as residential potable water systems and certain industrial processes.

2. What Are 5 Microns?

Filters with a 5-micron rating effectively remove sediment, sand, rust, and other visible particles. They are commonly used in point-of-use and point-of-entry systems to improve water clarity and reduce the risk of clogging downstream equipment. For general-purpose filtration in residential, commercial, and industrial environments.

3. What Are 10 Microns?

Filters with a 10-micron rating effectively remove larger particles including sediment, sand, and visible debris. They provide good filtration for general-purpose applications such as pre-filtration of appliances, irrigation systems, and industrial processes. Often used as a first line of defense to extend the life of more specialized filters downstream.

4. What Are 20 Microns?

Filters with a 20-micron rating provide moderate filtration capacity, focusing on visible deposits and larger particles. They are commonly used as pre-filters in residential and commercial systems to prevent clogging of subsequent filters and improve water quality. Suitable for applications where water sources contain moderate levels of visible sediment, or as a pre-filter in multi-stage filtration systems.

5. What Are 50 Microns?

Filters with a 50-micron rating provide coarse filtration, focusing on larger particles and debris. They are commonly used as pre-filters in industrial settings, such as manufacturing and processing plants, where water sources may contain large quantities of large particles. Not suitable for removal of fine particles or applications requiring high water clarity.

6. What Are 80 Microns?

Filters with an 80-micron rating provide very coarse filtration and are designed to trap large particles and sediment. They are typically used in industrial applications where the water source may contain large amounts of debris, such as construction sites or agricultural operations. Not recommended for general household or drinking water filtration purposes.

7. What Are 100 and 125 Microns?

Filters with a 100 or 125-micron rating provide extremely coarse filtration, focusing on large particles and sediment. These filters are typically used in industrial or agricultural settings where the water supply may contain large amounts of debris and solids. Not suitable for removal of fine particles or applications requiring high water clarity.

Micron Ratings and Water Filtration

The micron rating of a water filter refers to the particle size that the filter can effectively capture and remove from the water. The rating indicates the level of filtration of the filter and its ability to remove contaminants based on their size. Knowing the micron rating is not only critical to choosing the right water filter for a specific water quality concern, it can also help consumers choose the right water filter. Different pollutants have different particle sizes, and by knowing the micron size of target pollutants, consumers can choose water filters with micron ratings to effectively capture and remove these pollutants.

How Different Types of Filters Use Microns to Remove Impurities?

1. Sediment Filter

Sediment filters, such as depth filters or spun polypropylene filters, are designed to remove larger particles and sediment from water. They usually have a specific micron rating, indicating the size of particles they can capture. For example, a sediment filter with a micron rating of 5 microns is effective at trapping particles 5 microns or larger.

2. Carbon Filter

Carbon filters, including activated carbon and granular activated carbon (GAC) filters, effectively remove impurities by adsorption. While carbon filters are not specifically defined by a micron rating, they can still capture particles and pollutants within a certain size range. Carbon filters have a porous structure that traps particles as small as a few microns, including some organic compounds, chemicals, and chlorine.

3. Ultrafiltration (UF) System

Ultrafiltration systems use membranes with large pore sizes, typically between 0.01 and 0.1 microns. Ultrafiltration membranes can effectively remove suspended solids, bacteria, some viruses, colloidal particles, and compounds with larger molecular weight in water. These systems work on the principle of size exclusion, allowing water and smaller particles to pass while blocking larger impurities.

4. Reverse Osmosis (RO) System

Reverse osmosis systems use semi-permeable membranes with extremely small pores to remove various pollutants from water. RO membranes are usually rated by pore size, usually measured in angstroms (1 angstrom = 0.1 nanometers). The pore size of the RO membrane is usually around 0.0001 microns, which can effectively block particles, ions, and molecules larger than the membrane pore size. Reverse osmosis systems are very effective at removing dissolved solids, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and other impurities.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

How to Measure Micron Sizes?

Now that we know what is a micron and water filter micron rating, let's look at how to measure the micron size. Here is an explanation of some common measurement tools:

1. Optical Microscope

This method involves the use of a microscope with a calibrated reticle or stage micrometer. Place the sample on a glass slide, focus the microscope on the particle, and use a reticle or stage micrometer to directly measure the size by aligning the scale with the particle.

2. Electron Microscopy

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) provide high-resolution imaging for precise particle size measurement. Prepare samples by coating them with conductive material (SEM) or thinly sectioning them (TEM). The microscope then captures images of the particles and uses specialized software to measure their size.

3. Laser Diffraction

A laser beam is passed through the sample and the diffraction pattern is analyzed to determine the particle size distribution.

4. Coulter Counter

This instrument uses electrical impedance to measure particle size. The sample is suspended in a conductive liquid and passed through a small orifice. As the particles pass through the aperture, they disrupt the current flow, and the magnitude of the disruption is used to determine their size.

In conclusion, by knowing what is a micron, you can make an informed decision when choosing a water purifier for your specific needs. The importance of knowing the micron rating in water filtration cannot be overstated, whether you are removing sediment, bacteria, viruses or other impurities, knowing the proper micron rating can guide you in choosing the right filter for the job. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you learn more about water filtration and microns in order to choose the right size water purifier.