Concentration polarization and permeate flux variation in a vibration enhanced reverse osmosis membrane module

Xu Su, Wende Li, Alan Palazzolo, Shehab Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The performance of a vibration enhanced reverse osmosis membrane module for desalination of artificial seawater was investigated with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations and experiments. The computational model couples fluid dynamics with solutes transport inside the full length domain containing ‘zigzag’ spacers using a two dimensional, transient Large Eddy Simulation turbulence model. Both the local concentration dependent solute properties and variation of permeate flux over the membrane surface were predicted with the model. Membrane local permeate flux, concentration polarization, shear rate, and mass transfer were also calculated. The results suggest concentration polarization in the seawater desalination process could be reduced by imposing vibration on the reverse osmosis membrane. It was determined that the higher the vibration frequency the higher the membrane permeate flux while keeping the vibration amplitude constant. The CFD simulation predictions are validated against experimental data of permeate fluxes with good agreement.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-88
Number of pages14
StatePublished - May 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2019-11-27


  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Concentration polarization
  • Large eddy simulation (LES)
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Vibration enhanced reverse osmosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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