Mass Transfer Characteristics of Haemofiltration Modules—Experiments and Modeling
Reliable mathematical models are important tools for design/optimization of haemofiltration modules. For a specific module, such a model requires knowledge of fluid-mechanical and mass transfer parameters, which have to be determined through experimental data representative of the usual countercurrent operation. Attempting to determine all these parameters, through measured/external flow-rates and pressures, combined with the inherent inaccuracies of pressure measurements, creates an ill-posed problem (as recently shown). The novel systematic methodology followed herein, demonstrated for Newtonian fluids, involves specially designed experiments, allowing first the independent reliable determination of fluid-mechanical parameters. In this paper, the method is further developed, to determine the complete mass transfer module-characteristics; i.e., the mass transfer problem is modelled/solved, employing the already fully-described flow field. Furthermore, the model is validated using new/detailed experimental data on concentration profiles of a typical solute (urea) in counter-current flow. A single intrinsic-parameter value (i.e., the unknown effective solute-diffusivity in the membrane) satisfactorily fits all data. Significant insights are also obtained regarding the relative contributions of convective and diffusive mass-transfer. This study completes the method for reliable module simulation in Newtonian-liquid flow and provides the basis for extension to plasma/blood haemofiltration, where account should be also taken of oncotic-pressure and membrane-fouling effects.