Flux enhancements by gas slugs for dextran T500 solutions ultrafiltrated in a ZrO2/carbon tubular membrane module were measured and are discussed for various resistances of the concentration boundary layer. These resistances are functions of the liquid velocity, the transmembrane pressure, and the feed concentration in the liquid-phase ultrafiitration. When the boundary layer resistance is low, the flux enhancement by gas slugs is limited. For a liquid ultrafiitration system with a severe concentration polarization, or operated in conditions of low liquid velocity, high transmembrane pressure, and high feed concentration, flux enhancement by gas slugs is very significant if the gas velocity exceeds a certain threshold. This threshold gas velocity depends on the extent of the concentration polarization in the single liquidphase ultrafiitration system. It is concluded that the same permeate flux obtained in single liquid-phase ultrafiitration with a higher crossfiow velocity can also be achieved with a lower liquid velocity by introducing gas slugs of moderate velocity, and lead to reduced energy consumption.
Separation Science and Technology 33(15), pp.2295-2309