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Tubular membrane ultrafiltration and microfiltration are important industrial separation and concentration processes. Process optimisation requires reduction of membrane build-up. Gas slug introduction has been shown to be a useful approach for flux enhancement. However, process quantification is required for design and optimisation. In this work we employ a non-porous wall CFD model to quantify hydrodynamics in the two-phase slug flow process. Mass transfer is subsequently quantified from wall shear stress, which was determined from the CFD. The mass transfer model is an improved one-dimensional boundary layer model, which empirically incorporates effects of wall suction and analytically includes edge effects for circular conduits. Predicted shear stress profiles are in agreement with experimental results and flux estimates prove more reliable than that from previous models. Previous models ignored suction effects and employed less rigorous fluid property inclusion, which ultimately led to under-predictive flux estimates. The presented model offers reliable process design and optimisation criteria for gas-sparged tubular membrane ultrafiltration.


Journal article


Water Sci Technol

Publication Date





69 - 76


Bioreactors, Biotechnology, Gases, Membranes, Artificial, Models, Biological, Stress, Mechanical, Ultrafiltration, Waste Disposal, Fluid