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M-Spirelli - Twisted membrane spacer for low fouling and increased masstransport/pressure loss ratio

Membrane processes suffer from concentration

polarization and fouling. Further, mass transport is often hindered by fouling, caused by cake formation on the membrane, pore blockage and other effects. Concentration polarization as well as fouling can be at least partly controlled by the fluid flow conditions across

the membrane surface. High shear forces at the membrane result in partial removal of fouling layers on the membrane and minimization of concentration polarization. In membrane systems employing flat sheet membranes, such as spiral wound modules or electrodialysis membrane stacks, spacers are introduced into the flow channel, which int roduce eddy mixing. However, current spacer designs are associated with relatively high increase of pressure loss within the feed channel at only moderate increase of mass transfer. Scientist of RWTH Aachen University developed a microengineered membrane spacer (the M-Spirelli) with helical strings, which displays increased mass transfer at low pressure loss. It is expected that it further minimizes fouling due to high shear stress at the membrane surface. The M-Spirelli membrane spacer can be used in any membrane application employing flat sheet membranes.

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