A theoretical model for prediction of permeate flux during crossflow membrane filtration of rigid hard spherical solute particles is developed. The model utilizes the equivalence of the hydrodynamic and thermodynamic principles governing the equilibrium in a concentration polarization layer. A combination of the two approaches yields an analytical expression for the permeate flux. The model predicts the local variation of permeate flux in a filtration channel, as well as provides a simple expression for the channel-averaged flux. A criterion for the formation of a filter cake is presented and is used to predict the downstream position in the filtration channel where cake layer build-up initiates. The predictions of permeate flux using the model compare remarkably well with a detailed numerical solution of the convective diffusion equation coupled with the osmotic pressure model. Based on the model, a novel graphical technique for prediction of the local permeate flux in a crossflow filtration channel has also been presented.
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