CFD simulation of channels for direct and reverse electrodialysis

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Flows within very thin channels, typically filled with spacers, can be often encountered in many processes such as electrodialysis (ED) and reverse electrodialysis (RED). Although the ED and the RED processes have been studied for a long time, the optimization of the fluid dynamics within the channels is still an open problem. In the present work, realized within the EU-FP7 funded REAPower project, computational fluid dynamics simulations were carried out in order to predict the fluid flow field inside a single ED/RED channel. Some different configurations were tested which includes: an empty channel, a channel provided with a spacer, and a channel filled with a purposely manufactured fiber porous medium. Two types of spacers were investigated: (1) a commercial type made of woven perpendicular filaments and (2) an overlapped perpendicular filament spacer. A sensitivity analysis concerning computational grid size and topology was performed. For the cases investigated, adopting the hybrid grids mainly composed of hexahedral volumes was found to be more reliable and less computational demanding than tetrahedral grids. As concerns the dependence of the pressure drops on the flow rate, the empty channel was found to guarantee the lowest pressure drops at a given fluid flow rate, as expected. Conversely, the woven spacer filled channel was found to provide larger pumping costs. The pressure drops along the channel filled with a porous medium even at low flow rate were very high thus suggesting that this specific configuration may be unsuitable and that further investigations should be devoted to this topic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-389
Number of pages20
JournalDesalination and Water Treatment
Publication statusPublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Pollution


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