Predicting the effect of membrane spacers on mass transfer

Abhishek Shrivastava, Satish Kumar, E. L. Cussler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Like many separation processes, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis are often compromised by concentration polarization. Such polarization can be mitigated by static mixers and other flow barriers placed as spacers next to the membrane surface. These spacers can be shaped like ladders, herringbones, and helices. The effect of these spacers can be successfully predicted without adjustable parameters from extensions of the Lévêque equation. The predictions are in agreement with results of computational fluid mechanics and with electrochemical experiments. They supply a tool for optimizing spacer design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 15 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Nathan Craig helped make the electrochemical measurements. The work was partially supported by the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society. Other support came from the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research.


  • Concentration polarization
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Spacers
  • Ultrafiltration


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