DOI: 10.3390/ceramics7010009 ISSN: 2571-6131

A CFD Analysis of the Desalination Performance of Ceramic-Based Hollow Fiber Membranes in Direct Contact Membrane Distillation

MHD Maher Alrefaai, Mohd Hafiz Dzarfan Othman, Mohammad Rava, Zhong Sheng Tai, Abolfazl Asnaghi, Mohd Hafiz Puteh, Juhana Jaafar, Mukhlis A. Rahman, Mohammed Faleh Abd Al-Ogaili
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ceramics and Composites

In this numerical study, the performance of ceramic-based mullite hollow fiber (HF) membranes in a direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) process was evaluated. Three types of membranes were tested: (i) hydrophobic membrane C8-HFM, (ii) rod-like omniphobic membrane (C8-RL/TiO2), and (iii) flower-like omniphobic membrane (C8-FL/TiO2). The CFD model was developed and validated with experimental results, which were performed over a 500 min period. The initial mass flux of C8-HFM was 30% and 9% higher than that of C8-FL/TiO2 and C8-RL/TiO2, respectively. However, the flower-like omniphobic membrane C8-FL/TiO2 had the lowest drop in flux, around 11%, while the rod-like omniphobic membrane C8-RL/TiO2 had a 15% reduction, both better than the 23% reduction in the hydrophobic membrane C8-HFM over the 500 min. The study also analyzed the impact of fouling by examining the variation in mass transfer coefficient (MTC) over time. The results indicated that the ceramic-based mullite HF membranes with TiO2 flowers and rods demonstrated a high resistance to fouling compared to C8-HFM. The modified membranes could find applications in the desalination and handling of seawater samples containing organic contaminants. The CFD model’s versatility can be utilized beyond the current investigation’s scope, offering a valuable tool for efficient membrane development solutions, particularly for challenges such as the presence of organic contaminants in seawater.

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