Comparison of flow structures in spacer-filled flat and annular channels

V. V. Ranade, A. Kumar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Spacers are designed to create directional changes in the flow through membrane modules. Such secondary flow structures reduce concentration polarization and membrane fouling. Obviously, type of the spacer used in membrane modules strongly influences the resulting flow and therefore performance of the module. In this work, we have modeled detailed fluid dynamics of spacer filled channels by using the 'unit cell' approach. The validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was used to evaluate performance of certain spacer shapes and compare the resulting fluid dynamics in flat and curved channels. The simulations show that fluid flow behavior in a spacer-filled flat and a spiral channel was not significantly different. This means that pressure drops and mass transfer coefficients measured in flat channels may provide adequate guidelines, which would also be valid for spiral-wound modules. The results presented in this work will have significant implications for identifying improved spacers with higher propensities to reduce fouling in membrane modules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-244
Number of pages9
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Annular channel
  • CFD
  • Flat channel
  • Membrane spacers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Filtration and Separation


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