Filtration is any of various mechanical, physical or biological operations that separate solids from liquids (liquids or gases) by adding a medium through which only the fluid can pass. The fluid that passes through is called the filtrate. In physical filters oversize solids in the fluid are retained and in biological filters particulates are trapped and ingested and metabolites are retained and removed. However, the separation is not complete; solids will be contaminated with some fluid and filtrate will contain fine particles (depending on the pore size, filter thickness and biological activity). Filtration occurs both in nature and in engineered systems; there are biological, geological, and industrial forms. For example, in animals (including humans), renal filtration removes waste from the blood, and in water treatment and sewage treatment, undesirable constituents are removed by absorption into a biological film grown on or in the filter medium, as in slow sand filtration.


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