A Compendium of Open-Ended Membrane Problems in the Curriculum


  • G. Glenn Lipscomb University of Toledo


Membrane separation processes have infiltrated both the academic and industrial worlds. Commercial successes have engendered a wealth of research activity and collaboration on projects ranging from nitrogen production to hemodialysis. Coverage of membrane topics in the undergraduate curriculum has lagged as authors and educators have waited to see if membrane processes are “for real.” But the rapid growth of the membrane industry suggests membranes will play a significant role in the separations world.

We present three design projects that have been used in chemical engineering classes to introduce membrane processes. The classes range from freshman/sophomore mass and energy balances to senior design. The first project requires students to specify a treatment plan for individuals undergoing hemodialysis. The second and third highlight the manufacturing process used to produce hollow fiber membranes. One requires the design of a water distribution system for spinline quench baths while the other seeks to recover solvent from the dilute, aqueous waste stream produced by the process. These projects do not require extensive knowledge of membrane transport phenomena, modules, or processes. They do require application of fundamental chemical engineering principles for design purposes while simultaneously providing an introduction to the manufacture and use of membranes.

Author Biography

G. Glenn Lipscomb, University of Toledo

G. Glenn Lipscomb is Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Toledo. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, he worked for three years in Dow Chemical's Western Division Applied Science and Technology Laboratory in Walnut Creek. CA. He was part of the team that developed Dow's second-generation oxygen/nitrogen membrane separation system. His research interests lie primarily in module design and membrane formation.