Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Chemical & Process Engineering

First Advisor

Cilian Ó Súilleabháin

Second Advisor

Ian O'Sullivan


The pervaporation process is investigated in this work under the guises of process design improvements and process performance. Several avenues of research were investigated.

The main aim of the project was to investigate the use of liquid ring vacuum pumps for permeate recovery at laboratory and industrial scales. Due to technical and economical issues, these pumps were deemed unsuitable. This analysis then had to be extended further. Previous work investigated the use of dry vacuum pump systems on a lab scale and this work was extended to industrial scale simulations. Results from the lab scale process particularly those relating to pump lifetime were also considered. Elsewhere steam jet ejectors were previously considered and this analysis was also expanded upon. No immediate option for Improvement in permeate recovery was found. Research in vacuum technology was then considered to ascertain future possibilities.

The next aim was to extend the work of a previous project. This work developed a model for prediction the flux In a PV system without the need for experimentation. The use of dimensionless numbers offered a way to possibly improve the prediction of this model. These attempts to predict the mass transfer in the boundary layers adjacent to the membrane. However Instead of modelling the boundary layers, it was decided to Investigate possible methods for destroying these layers. This was deemed to be more beneficial due to the possible increases in performance and lack of promise for the pre-existing approach. Module design Is a key element in this strategy. Several modules were proposed for further research as well as a strategy for testing these modules. The final two areas determine the effect of permeate pressure and performance indicators (flux and selectivity) on PV performance. In permeate pressure a previous classification system developed elsewhere was tested and simplified.

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