Theory of concentration polarization in crossflow filtration

Lianfa Song, Menachem Elimelech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


A novel theory is developed for concentration polarization of non-interacting particles in crossflow-filtration systems. This theory reveals that the extent of concentration polarization, as well as the behaviour of the permeate flux, are characterized by an important dimensionless filtration number (NF = 4πap3 ΔP/3kT). There is a critical value of the filtration number for a given suspension and operational conditions. When the filtration number is smaller than the critical value, a polarization layer exists directly over the membrane surface and the wall particle concentration is determined by the pressure and temperature. At higher filtration numbers, a cake layer of retained particles forms between the polarization layer and the membrane surface. Mathematical models are constructed for both cases and analytical solutions for the permeate flux are derived. An increase in permeate flux with increasing pressure is predicted for all operational conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3389-3398
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Chemical Society, Faraday Transactions
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1995


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