Design of spiral-wound electrodialysis modules

Natasha C. Wright, Amos G. Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Spiral-wound electrodialysis (ED) modules are of interest because, in a parallel flow configuration where both the diluate and concentrate streams flow from the inner electrode to the outer electrode along a spiral path, the applied current density decreases as the concentration in the diluate stream and associated limiting current density (LCD) decrease. By matching the applied current density as closely as possible to the LCD at any given location in a stack, the required amount of membrane area is minimized, reducing capital cost. This work presents an analytical model for a spiral-wound ED module and experimental validation of that model using a prototype stack with two cell pairs and four revolutions. A constant voltage was applied and the total current and stream conductivities at mid-stack and the output were recorded. Experimental results agreed with the model for all parameters to within 15%. The model was used to explore the most cost-effective spiral stack designs for desalting brackish groundwater, examining both a standard Archimedean spiral (as is common for spiral-wound RO modules), and a novel ideal spiral. The ideal spiral shape was found to reduce total cost by 21% and capital cost by 39% with respect to an Archimedean spiral.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
StatePublished - May 15 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was sponsored by Tata Projects, Ltd. , UNICEF , USAID , the Tata Center for Technology and Design at MIT, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under grant No. 1122374 . Additionally, the authors would like to thank Sahil R. Shah and Dr. Susan E. Amrose, for their contributions to the flat stack model upon which this analysis is based, and Matthew Reeve and James Benn for their guidance and assistance in building prototype spiral stacks over the last few years.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Brackish groundwater
  • Desalination model
  • Electrodialysis
  • Spiral-wound


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