In this work, the effects of the deteriorating affinity-related properties of membranes due to leaching and erosion on their rejection capacity were studied via computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The function of affinity-enhancing agents is to modify the wettability state of the surface of a membrane for dispersed droplets. The wettability conditions can be identified by the contact angle a droplet makes with the surface of the membrane upon pinning. For the filtration of fluid emulsions, it is generally required that the surface of the membrane is nonwetting for the dispersed droplets such that the interfaces that are formed at the pore openings provide the membrane with a criterion for the rejection of dispersals. Since materials that make up the membrane do not necessarily possess the required affinity, it is customary to change it by adding affinity-enhancing agents to the base material forming the membrane. The bonding and stability of these materials can be compromised during the lifespan of a membrane due to leaching and erosion (in crossflow filtration), leading to a deterioration of the rejection capacity of the membrane. In order to investigate how a decrease in the contact angle can lead to the permeation of droplets that would otherwise get rejected, a CFD study was conducted. In the CFD study, a droplet was released in a crossflow field that involved a pore opening and the contact angle was considered to decrease with time as a consequence of the leaching of affinity-enhancing agents. The CFD analysis revealed that the decrease in the contact angle resulted in the droplet spreading over the surface more. Furthermore, the interface that was formed at the entrance of the pore opening flattened as the contact angle decreased, leading the interface to advance more inside the pore. The droplet continued to pass over the pore opening until the contact angle reached a certain value, at which point, the droplet became pinned at the pore opening.
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