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Topology Optimization of Spacers for Maximizing Permeate Flux on Membrane Surface in Reverse Osmosis Channel

[+] Author Affiliations
Seungjae Oh, Semyung Wang, Minkyu Park, Joonha Kim

Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju, Republic of Korea

Paper No. DETC2011-48933, pp. 173-182; 10 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5: 37th Design Automation Conference, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5482-2
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


The objective of this study is to design spacers using fluid topology optimization in 2D crossflow Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane channel to improve the performance of RO processes. This study is an initial attempt to apply topology optimization to designing spacers in RO membrane channel. The performance was evaluated by the quantity of permeate flux penetrating both upper and lower membrane surfaces. A coupled Navier-Stokes and Convection-Diffusion model was employed to calculate the permeate flux. To get reliable solutions, stabilization methods were employed with standard finite element method. The nine reference models which consist of the combination of circle, rectangular, triangle shape and zigzag, cavity, submerge configuration of spacers were simulated. Such models were compared with new model designed by topology optimization. The permeate flux at both membrane surfaces was determined as an objective function. In addition, permissible pressure drop along the channel and spacer volume were used as constraints. As a result of topology optimization as the permissible pressure drop changes in channel, characteristics of spacer design development was founded. Spacer design based on topology optimization was reconstructed to a simple one considering manufactuability and characteristics of development spacer design. When a simplified design was compared with previous 9 models, new design has a better performance in terms of permeate flux and wall concentration at membrane surface.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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