Thin Film Composite Membranes are semi-permeable membranes manufactured principally for use in water purification or desalination systems. Essentially, a TFC material is a molecular sieve constructed in the form of a film from two or more layered materials. Membranes used in reverse osmosis are typically made out of polyimide , chosen primarily for its permeability to water and relative impermeability to various dissolved impurities including salt ions and other small, unfilterable molecules. A TFC membrane is prone to breaking down when exposed to chlorine, which should be removed by a carbon filter, but will do an overall better job of filtration than a CTA membrane.
Cellulose Triacetate Membranes are less expensive than TFC membranes but still do an adequate job of water filtration. However, the CTA membrane is prone to rotting unless protected by chlorinated water or some other form of disinfection, such as an ultraviolet light.
Carbon filtering is a method of filtering that uses a piece of activated carbon to remove contaminants and impurities, utilizing chemical adsorption . Each piece of carbon is designed to provide a large section of surface area, in order to allow contaminants the most possible exposure to the filter media. One pound (454g) of activated carbon contains a surface area of approximately 100 acres . This carbon is generally activated with a positive charge and is designed to attract negatively charged water contaminants. Carbon filters are most effective at removing chlorine , sediment , and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from water. They are not effective at removing minerals , salts , and dissolved inorganic compounds. Typical particle sizes that can be removed by carbon filters range from 0.5 to 50 micrometres (microns). The particle size will be used as part of the filter description (i.e. "a 10 micron filter").
Ecolo Ionex uses coconut based carbon to filter your water. Why does the carbon source matter? Because coal based filters may already contain substances like Arsenic when they are manufactured, carrying the risk that these substances may leach into your water as it passes through the filter. Coconut based carbon avoids these dangers and also provides a much higher overall capacity than normal coal-based filters. In fact, one Ecolo Ionex Coconut-based Carbon filter will filter the water for your entire home, removing particles down to 5 microns in size, and still only need to be replaced once a year.