When filtering waste vegetable oil or waste motor oil, we typically use filters that are rated in micron ratings. But, what do those ratings really mean? And how big is the hole? If you haven’t seen or touched an actual micron screen, it’s difficult to get a relative size in mind of just what a particular mesh might look like.
So, we decided to take some pictures of our poly micron rated bucket filters so you could get a feel for the different micron ratings.
Before we start with the pictures it’s important to understand what the micron rating actually represents.
Microns is a metric measurement that refers to how big the hole is in mesh. It ties to a millimeter square hole. For example, 400 micron means that each hole is 0.400 millimeters. 100 micron means that each hole is 0.100 millimeters. So the bigger the number, the bigger the hole.
So, with that in mind, let’s show some pictures…
You can click on any of the pictures below to see the full size image & get a better look at how fine the holes are.
The first picture is all of our bucket filters together. They range from 75 micron to 600 micron.
For the first set of pictures, we put each poly bucket filter in front of a bumper sticker some text mounted to a black board. This way you get an idea of the opacity of the filter (how well you can see through it).
Our first filter is rated at 75 microns. The weave is so small and so tight that it’s almost like looking through a clear sheet of plastic. This is the smallest poly micron bucket/drum filter available and is popular with the waste vegetable oil (WVO) or waste motor oil (WMO) users as an intermediate filter. It gets much of the fine particles out and prepares the oil for the smaller micron ratings offered in our bag filters.
The 100 micron poly filter has strands that are a little bigger and more visible to the eye. You’ll notice that because of their bigger size they also shut out more light. Against the text, it looks like you’re looking through a really thin piece of fabric. This filter is also popular as an intermediate or starting filter among those using wvo or wmo as a direct fuel in diesel engines.
The 200 micron poly filter has slightly larger holes and the weave of the strands is such that you can see the holes. This makes a great initial filter for wvo or wmo users and is even popular among those filtering oil for Biodiesel production.
At 400 micron, you can definitely see the holes. It’s more like a really fine window screen. This filter is perfect for filtering oil that will be made into Biodiesel. It’s the size we filter our oil with before it goes into our BioPro 190 Automated Biodiesel Processor and is the one we recommend to those filtering oil to be made into Biodiesel. We find that it filters the oil well enough not to cause an issue in the reaction and the oil doesn’t take a long time to go through it. If your oil is fairly liquid, you can easily dump a 55 gallon drum of oil through one of our
At 600 micron, its obvious the holes are there. They’re 0.0600 millimeter holes and visually you can really see them. This makes an excellent “first pass” filter to get the chunks out and is great to use first on really nasty oil!
For the second set of pictures, we did close up shots of each filter with a penny on it so you get an idea of the relative size of the holes.
Our 75 micron is first. Again, the mesh weave is so tight that it’s really hard to see the holes. If you look really close you can see the lines from the weave. It’s an amazingly tight weave with very small strands!
At close range, the 100 micron weave is a little easier to see. The combination of the larger weave strands being really close together tend to block out more light than the 75 micron. At first glance you’d swear the 100 micron was a tighter weave than the 75 micron, but it’s an optical illusion because the strands are larger.
At 200 micron, this bucket filter at close range is quite easy to see the weave and the holes. If you click on the picture, you’ll get a better view. It’s pretty apparent that the holes are there.
At 400 micron, you can definitely see the holes at close range. It looks a lot like a really tight window screen. You can actually see each strand weaving in and out of the other ones. Again, this is our favorite for filtering oil for Biodiesel production.
At 600 micron at close range, you’d swear the holes were pretty large. In reality, they’re still much smaller than a typical window screen, but the holes are definitely visible. This makes a great first filter for really nasty oil as it’ll still let the oil flow through it fairly quickly but will still catch the bigger particles. For Biodiesel, you’ll still want to filter your oil through a 400 micron after filtering through this one, but the 600 micron is great to have on hand for the times you run into really nasty oil!
Now the million dollar question…which one should you use? Well, that depends on your application.
If you’re filtering waste vegetable oil for biodiesel production, I recommend 400 micron screens. 600 will get the chunks out, but 400 is what I personally use.
If you’re filtering Straight Vegetable Oil or Waste Motor Oil (Transmission Fluid Included), the 200 micron makes an excellent prefilter. The 100 micron is by far the most popular and the 75 micron works great, but it will take longer for the oil to flow through it than the larger micron sizes.
So, go with the larger microns for filtering waste veggie to get the chunks out and to filter the oil to get it ready for making Biodiesel. Go with the smaller micron filters if you’re filtering waste motor oil or waste vegetable oil to be used directly in a diesel engine. Also, remember that most older diesel vehicles have 10 micron fuel filters on them and the newer diesels usually use anywhere from 7 to 2 micron, so if you’re using the oil directly (not making Biodiesel), we highly recommend further filtering with our bag filters.
Also, you may have run across mesh ratings instead of micron ratings. There’s quite a bit of difference between the two, but there is a relation. To help you out with this, here’s a handy conversion chart between mesh & micron.
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