The effect of spiral wound membrane element design characteristics on its performance in steady state desalination — A parametric study
Year : 2014
Author : A.J. Karabelas, C.P. Koutsou, M. Kostoglou
The spiral-wound membrane (SWM) element design variables include retentate- and permeate-spacer characteristics and number of membrane envelopes (or sheet width) for constant total area, in addition tomembrane surface properties. The effect of these parameters (varying within realistic ranges) on the operating variables, comprising two-dimensional distribution of permeate flux, trans-membrane pressure (TMP), retentate- and permeate-side pressures and velocities, is systematically assessed. Advanced software is employed, capable of simulating SWM desalination performance with no recourse to empirical parameters. The parametric study involves typical cases of desalinating brackish and sea-water with 2000 mg/L and 40,000 mg/L TDS, respectively, in pressure vessels with seven 8-inch SWM-elements. The results showthat low-pressure desalination modules are most sensitive to variations of geometric parameters. The effect of permeate-side fabric is significant, directly affecting TMP and module productivity. In both low- and high-pressure desalination, the effect of retentate-side spacer manifests itselfmainly in the pressure drop across the element. The results confirmthat themembranewidth is very important, with short sheets exhibiting the best overall performance. Noteworthy is the insensitivity of high-pressure SWM-module productivity to significantly different design parameter-values, including envelope width. These results are helpful in guiding SWM element optimization and in setting priorities for related R&D work.