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Control and optimization of solute transport in a thin porous tube
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Predicting the distribution of solutes or particles in flows within porous-walled tubes is essential to inform the design of devices that rely on cross-flow filtration, such as those used in water purification, irrigation devices, field-flow fractionation, and hollow-fibre bioreactors for tissue-engineering applications. Motivated by these applications, a radially averaged model for fluid and solute transport in a tube with thin porous walls is derived by developing the classical ideas of Taylor dispersion. The model includes solute diffusion and advection via both radial and axial flow components, and the advection, diffusion, and uptake coefficients in the averaged equation are explicitly derived. The effect of wall permeability, slip, and pressure differentials upon the dispersive solute behaviour are investigated. The model is used to explore the control of solute transport across the membrane walls via the membrane permeability, and a parametric expression for the permeability required to generate a given solute distribution is derived. The theory is applied to the specific example of a hollow-fibre membrane bioreactor, where a uniform delivery of nutrient across the membrane walls to the extra-capillary space is required to promote spatially uniform cell growth.
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