Membrane Separation Report under Chemical Engineering Laboratory (CHG 4116) from the University of Ottawa. These 37 pages long lab report was updated in 2022.

  • Class Year
  • 2022
  • Number of Pages
  • 37
  • Staff Rating
  • 4.5/5

Membranes are interphase barriers that separate two phases, and restrict the transport

of a given component. They can be found naturally in living organisms, but can also be

synthesized with desired properties, for use in industry. Applications include the treatment of

wastewater and the concentration of spent materials. Two commonly used types of membranes

for water purification are reverse osmosis (RO) and ultrafiltration (UF) membranes.

Government regulations on water content exist for everything from industrial chemicals

to various salts. For instance, the maximum allowable concentration of NaCl in municipal water

is 200 ppm. It was desired to study the effectiveness of RO and UF membranes in the separation

of two solutes, NaCl and MgSO4, from water, and the effect of concentration and inlet pressure

on the desired separation. A total of 15 runs were performed. Runs at pressures of 280, 240,

200,160, and 120 psig for the RO membrane and 50, 80, 100, 120, 160 psig for the UF membrane

were tested. Additional runs, at concentrations of 200 300 and 500 ppm were also executed for

both membranes.

The results obtained suggest that the solute rejection decreases in both RO and UF

membranes as a function of increasing tank concentration. Varying system pressure allowed for

the conclusion that there exists an ideal pressure for which the membrane’s performance is

maximized, demonstrated by a maximum value of the solute rejection and a minimum value of

the separation factor. Although the concentration/polarization model could not be verified

mathematically, evaluation of the permeance and the Reynolds number provided further

information regarding membrane characteristics and flow regime. It was concluded that, in

combination with the low solute concentrations used, the turbulent flow regime minimized the

possibility of solute accumulation along the membrane’s outer surface, and mass transfer was

likely not restricted. Finally, since permeate concentrations obtained following the separation

often exceeded the 200 ppm municipal limit, it was determined that pre-treatment and a better

evaluation of the ideal operating conditions for each membrane, are required in order to achieve

the desired separation.

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