Investigation of concentration polarization in a cross-flow nanofiltration membrane: Experiment and CFD modelling

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Civil, Water and Environmental Engineering, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehranpars, Tehran, Iran

2 College of Petroleum and Chemical Engineering, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran



Numerous researches have been investigated on the mass transfer phenomena and hydrodynamics for the fluid in the vicinity of the membrane surface by the mathematical modelling and simulation. Due to complexities involved in solving transport phenomena within membranes, the application of CFD simulation study for determining the concentration polarization (CP) profile in the membrane channel is limited. In this study, a 2D CFD modelling and simulation of CP phenomena in nanofiltration of an aqueous solution of MgSO47H2O in a vertical spacer-filled flat sheet membrane module was presented. A response surface methodology (RSM) statistical analysis has been designed in order to fully capture effects of variations of the feed liquid flow and the transmembrane pressure (TMP) on the permeate flux and concentration. It was also shown that increasing TMP or the liquid flow rate led to enhancing the permeate flux while increasing the feed concentration decreased it. The simulated results were validated and compared with the available experimental data, showing a satisfactory agreement. Eventually, the mass transfer coefficient derived from CFD simulations and calculated from Sherwood empirical relationships were compared which showed 10% and 33% difference in lower and higher liquid flow rates, respectively.


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