Numerical Comparison of Prediction Models for Aerosol Filtration Efficiency Applied on a Hollow-Fiber Membrane Pore Structure

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2018 Jun 19;8(6):447. doi: 10.3390/nano8060447.


Hollow-fiber membranes (HFMs) have been widely applied to many liquid treatment applications such as wastewater treatment, membrane contactors/bioreactors and membrane distillation. Despite the fact that HFMs are widely used for gas separation from gas mixtures, their use for mechanical filtration of aerosols is very scarce. In this work, we compared mathematical models developed for the prediction of air filtration efficiency by applying them on the structural parameters of polypropylene HFMs. These membranes are characteristic of pore diameters of about 90 nm and have high solidity, thus providing high potential for nanoparticle removal from air. A single fiber/collector and capillary pore approach was chosen to compare between models developed for fibrous filters and capillary-pore membranes (Nuclepore filters) based on three main mechanisms occurring in aerosol filtration (inertial impaction, interception and diffusion). The collection efficiency due to individual mechanisms differs significantly. The differences are caused by the parameters for which the individual models were developed, i.e., given values of governing dimensionless numbers (Reynolds, Stokes and Peclet number) and also given values of filter porosity and filter fiber diameter. Some models can be used to predict the efficiency of HFMs based on assumptions depending on the conditions and exact membrane parameters.

Keywords: aerosol; diffusion; filtration efficiency; hollow-fiber membrane; inertial impaction; interception.