Membrane Deformation and Its Effects on Flow and Mass Transfer in the Electromembrane Processes.


Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università degli Studi di Palermo, viale delle Scienze Ed. 6, 90128 Palermo, Italy. [Email]


In the membrane processes, a trans-membrane pressure (TMP) may arise due to design features or operating conditions. In most applications, stacks for electrodialysis (ED) or reverse electrodialysis (RED) operate at low TMP (<0.1 bar); however, large stacks with non-parallel flow patterns and/or asymmetric configurations can exhibit higher TMP values, causing membrane deformations and changes in fluid dynamics and transport phenomena. In this work, integrated mechanical and fluid dynamics simulations were performed to investigate the TMP effects on deformation, flow and mass transfer for a profiled membrane-fluid channel system with geometrical and mechanical features and fluid velocities representative of ED/RED conditions. First, a conservatively high value of TMP was assumed, and mechanical simulations were conducted to identify the geometry with the largest pitch to height ratio still able to bear this load without exhibiting a contact between opposite membranes. The selected geometry was then investigated under expansion and compression conditions in a TMP range encompassing most practical applications. Finally, friction and mass transfer coefficients in the deformed channel were predicted by computational fluid dynamics. Significant effects of membrane deformation were observed: friction and mass transfer coefficients increased in the compressed channel, while they decreased (though to a lesser extent) in the expanded channel.


CFD,electrodialysis,fluid-structure interaction,ion exchange membrane,mass transfer,pressure drop,profiled membrane,reverse electrodialysis,structural mechanics,

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