Standard Active Last Updated: Dec 13, 2019
ASTM F316-03(2019)

Standard Test Methods for Pore Size Characteristics of Membrane Filters by Bubble Point and Mean Flow Pore Test

Significance and Use

5.1 This test method may be used to:

5.1.1 Determine the maximum pore size of a filter,

5.1.2 Compare the maximum pore sizes of several filters, and

5.1.3 Determine the effect of various processes such as filtration, coating, or autoclaving on the maximum pore size of a membrane.

5.2 Membrane filters have discrete pores from one side to the other of the membrane, similar to capillary, tubes. The bubble point test is based on the principle that a wetting liquid is held in these capillary pores by capillary attraction and surface tension, and the minimum pressure required to force liquid from these pores is a function of pore diameter. The pressure at which a steady stream of bubbles appears in this test is the bubble point pressure. The bubble point test is significant not only for indicating maximum pore size, but may also indicate a damaged membrane, ineffective seals, or a system leak.

5.3 The results of this test method should not be used as the sole factor to describe the limiting size for retention of particulate contaminants from fluids. The effective pore size calculated from this test method is based on the premise of capillary pores having circular cross sections, and does not refer to actual particle size retention. See Test Method E128 for additional information.


1.1 These test methods cover the determination of two of the pore size properties of membrane filters with maximum pore sizes from 0.1 to 15.0 μm.

1.2 Test Method A presents a test method for measuring the maximum limiting pore diameter of nonfibrous membranes. The limiting diameter is the diameter of a circle having the same area as the smallest section of a given pore (Fig. 1).

FIG. 1 Examples of Limiting Diameters

Examples of Limiting DiametersExamples of Limiting Diameters

1.3 Test Method B measures the relative abundance of a specified pore size in a membrane, defined in terms of the limiting diameter.

1.4 The analyst should be aware that adequate collaborative data for bias statements as required by Practice D2777 is not provided. See the precision and bias section for details.

1.5 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.7 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 11.02
Developed by Subcommittee: D19.08
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.1520/F0316-03R19
ICS Code: 59.080.70