Membrane filtration with complex branching pore morphology

Pejman Sanaei, Linda J. Cummings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Membrane filters are in widespread industrial use, and mathematical models to predict their efficacy are potentially very useful, as such models can suggest design modifications to improve filter performance and lifetime. Many models have been proposed to describe particle capture by membrane filters and the associated fluid dynamics, but most such models are based on a very simple structure in which the pores of the membrane are assumed to be simple circularly cylindrical tubes spanning the depth of the membrane. Real membranes used in applications usually have much more complex geometry, with interconnected pores that may branch and bifurcate. Pores are also typically larger on the upstream side of the membrane than on the downstream side. We present an idealized mathematical model, in which a membrane consists of a series of bifurcating pores, which decrease in size as the membrane is traversed. Feed solution is forced through the membrane by applied pressure and particles are removed from the feed by adsorption within pores (which shrinks them). Thus, the membrane's permeability decreases as the filtration progresses. We discuss how filtration efficiency depends on the characteristics of the idealized branching structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number094305
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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