Flow dynamics and concentration polarisation in spacer-filled channels

Jens Lipnizki, Gunnar Eigil Jonsson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The key to developing highly efficient spiral-wound modules is the improvement of the mass transfer mechanisms. In this study a study of the mass transfer has been carried out using a flat test cell with six permeate outlets and a rectangular feed channel. Using this experimental set-up, it has been shown that the mass transport along the membrane is not fully described by the Sherwood correlation, which describes a decreasing mass transfer with an increasing distance from the inlet. It was observed that in open channel without spacers, the slope of the Sherwood correlation is decreasing by increasing pressure. This effect is combined with regular stripes on the membrane depending on the crossflow velocity and pressure when using coloured particles. An explanation could be a mass transfer perpendicular to the flow direction due to vortices, which is not covered by the Sherwood correlation. This phenomenon was also observed in spacer-filled channels. In this case the stripes on the surface depended on the spacer geometry. Furthermore, the experiments were used to calculate the energy consumption vs. the mass transfer coefficient for different spacers. This research can be used as a foundation to develop a deeper understanding of the effect of concentration polarisation during the filtration and to evaluate a sufficient strategy for the development of a spacer.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)213-217
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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