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Membranes 2013, 3(4), 249-265; doi:10.3390/membranes3040249

Numerical Simulation of Particle Distribution in Capillary Membrane during Backwash

1,* , 2
1 Department of Mechanics and Robotics, University of Duisburg-Essen, Lotharstr. 1, 47057 Duisburg, Germany 2 Department of Process Engineering and Water Technology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Bismarckstr. 90, 47057 Duisburg, Germany 3 IWW Water Research Institute, Moritzstr. 26, 45476 Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 July 2013 / Revised: 17 September 2013 / Accepted: 23 September 2013 / Published: 27 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes and Water Treatment)


The membrane filtration with inside-out dead-end driven UF-/MF- capillary membranes is an effective process for particle removal in water treatment. Its industrial application increased in the last decade exponentially. To date, the research activities in this field were aimed first of all at the analysis of filtration phenomena disregarding the influence of backwash on the operation parameters of filtration plants. However, following the main hypothesis of this paper, backwash has great potential to increase the efficiency of filtration. In this paper, a numerical approach for a detailed study of fluid dynamic processes in capillary membranes during backwash is presented. The effect of particle size and inlet flux on the backwash process are investigated. The evaluation of these data concentrates on the analysis of particle behavior in the cross sectional plane and the appearance of eventually formed particle plugs inside the membrane capillary. Simulations are conducted in dead-end filtration mode and with two configurations. The first configuration includes a particle concentration of 10% homogeneously distributed within the capillary and the second configuration demonstrates a cake layer on the membrane surface with a packing density of 0:6. Analyzing the hydrodynamic forces acting on the particles shows that the lift force plays the main role in defining the particle enrichment areas. The operation parameters contribute in enhancing the lift force and the heterogeneity to anticipate the clogging of the membrane.
Keywords: capillary membranes; backwash; numerical simulation; multiphase flow; ultrafiltration; particle distribution capillary membranes; backwash; numerical simulation; multiphase flow; ultrafiltration; particle distribution
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Mansour, H.; Keller, A.; Gimbel, R.; Kowalczyk, W. Numerical Simulation of Particle Distribution in Capillary Membrane during Backwash. Membranes 2013, 3, 249-265.

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