Authors: K. Ponnuru, H. Lin, E.P. Furlani
Affilation: SUNY Buffalo, United States
Pages: 249 - 252
Keywords: composite membrane, reverse osmosis, microporous support, computational model
The production of potable water has become a worldwide concern to meet the demand of a growing population. The reverse osmosis (RO) membrane is the leading technology for desalination installations to produce drinkable water, due to the high energy efficiency and resulting low costs. The popularization of RO membranes has been achieved by continual improvement in membrane separation performance and cost reduction. The thin dense skin layer of the thin film composite RO membrane performs molecular separation and the porous bulk of the membrane (150-200 µm) provides mechanical strength, but offers no resistance to mass transport for desalination. As the selective layer is produced thinner to enhance the water permeance, the geometric structure of the microporous support becomes more important, because the porosity and pore size may restrict the concentration profile of the water in the selective layer. This presentation will discuss the effect of the support geometry on the membrane permeance using an integral approach combining computational fluid dynamics simulations and experiments.