Biofluid Flow Effects in Polymeric Membranes for a Range of Applications in Health and Environmental Sustainability

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Biomedical Engineering


Membrane filtration has been growing in use in the recent decades. Its operating principles have made it attractive for multiple applications such as haemodialysis, distillation or desalination. The working conditions of haemodialysis and desalination are very different however, the former being operated at low pressures and the latter at very high pressures. Selecting optimal operating conditions can be challenging due to the economic cost of experiments. With the increase of computational power in the recent years, numerical simulations have become a widely used tool to improve practices across all engineering disciplines, having great impact on improved efficiency.
The objective of the project is to develop a numerical model to accurately describe membrane filtration for a range of applications. Computer simulations will be run using commercially available software (such as STAR-CCM+ and COMSOL Multiphysics) and will then be validated with experiments. The computational work will be done at the University of Strathclyde over a period of multiple months, in preparation for the experimental validation, which will be done at Lancaster University for periods of multiple weeks.
Commercially available membranes designed for ultrafiltration and nanofiltration will be used for the experimental set up. Different chemical solutions will be selected (e.g., water and sucrose, water and bovine serum albumin, etc.) in various species fractions. A CAD model of the flat sheet membrane and the hollow fibre module will be used for the simulation. The liquid properties of the mixture chosen will be modelled and input into the software. Both numerical simulations and experiments will be run under different operating conditions (e.g., pressure, flow rate, etc.) with the main outcome being mass transfer across the membrane. The visualisation tools from the computational software packages will be valuable in understanding common negative effects that appear in membrane filtration, such as concentration polarisation and particle deposition. The main aim of the project will be to find optimal working conditions and membrane selection for specific filtering processes for maximum efficiency and to provide insight into the effects that the flow conditions have on mass transfer.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/X010902/1 30/09/2023 29/09/2028
2902909 Studentship BB/X010902/1 30/09/2023 29/09/2027