Fluid-structure interaction and flow redistribution in membrane-bounded channels

Giuseppe Battaglia, Luigi Gurreri, Andrea Cipollina, Antonina Pirrotta, Svetlozar Velizarov, Michele Ciofalo, Giorgio Micale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
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The hydrodynamics of electrodialysis and reverse electrodialysis is commonly studied by neglecting membrane deformation caused by transmembrane pressure (TMP). However, large frictional pressure drops and differences in fluid velocity or physical properties in adjacent channels may lead to significant TMP values. In previous works, we conducted one-way coupled structural-CFD simulations at the scale of one periodic unit of a profiled membrane/channel assembly and computed its deformation and frictional characteristics as functions of TMP. In this work, a novel fluid-structure interaction model is presented, which predicts, at the channel pair scale, the changes in flow distribution associated with membrane deformations. The continuity and Darcy equations are solved in two adjacent channels by treating them as porous media and using the previous CFD results to express their hydraulic permeability as a function of the local TMP. Results are presented for square stacks of 0.6-m sides in cross and counter flow at superficial velocities of 1 to 10 cm/s. At low velocities, the corresponding low TMP does not significantly affect the flow distribution. As the velocity increases, the larger membrane deformation causes significant fluid redistribution. In the cross flow, the departure of the local superficial velocity from a mean value of 10 cm/s ranges between -27% and +39%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4259
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2019


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Darcy flow
  • Electromembrane process
  • Flow maldistribution
  • Fluid structure interaction
  • Hydraulic permeability
  • Ion exchange membrane
  • Membrane deformation
  • Numerical model
  • Profiled membrane

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