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Model development for polymer fibers as stationary phases

Polymer fibers – strong potential for high productivity downstream processing

Increasing demands for biopharmaceuticals as well as cost constraints and higher titers require high throughput and productivity of downstream processing. High throughput with conventional adsorbents is, however, limited: Conventional packed beds are filled with spherical porous adsorbent particles. Due to the structure of these particles, adsorption is limited by diffusion. Additionally, they have high packing densities and high pressure drops. Therefore, high throughput at high flow rates is not feasible.

SEM picture of PA6 winged fiber in the case study Model development for polymer fibers as stationary phases
Figure: SEM picture of PA6 winged fiber.

Polymeric fibers can serve as support for chromatography

Fibers show high capacities and low pressure drops at high flow rates. Furthermore, they have low manufacturing costs and their surface can be modified to generate adsorber systems with different modalities. To allow a better understanding of the processes using fiber-based adsorbents, a mechanistic model has been developed using ChromX.

Processes with polymer fibers as adsorbents can now be modeled

A transport-dispersive model in combination with a steric mass action isotherm was utilized. The model had to be calibrated from a few column experiments and was successfully applied to simulate tracer, linear gradient elution as well as breakthrough experiments. In this way, all relevant transport and binding mechanisms could be discerned, which allowed a better understanding of the process.

See full paper “A mechanistic model of ion-exchange chromatography on polymer fiber stationary phases

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