Fractionation: Design of a Fractionation Stack

Milk is used as a starting material for the manufacture of many dairy products. However, the functionality of the various components in milk (e.g. whey protein, casein and fat) could be utilized more effectively if they were available as separate components. Therefore, the fractionation of milk is of interest, not only for improvement of product quality but also for economic reasons. The selectivity and efficiency of current membranes are not sufficient to make the fractionation process a reality. Recently, micro sieves have become available: a new type of membrane with low flow resistance, and defined uniform pore size. The properties are such that the fractionation of milk seems possible on commercial scale.


The objective of this project is to study the different interactive parameters influencing particle migration in pressure driven flows and as a result see how the later phenomena can be used to mitigate the existing selectivity and flux problems in membrane separation. The ultimate aim is to use the potential of such particle movements in the design of membrane fractionation stack for milk and other areas of applications.


 Figure 1a & 1b: Particle migration phenomena

The research anticipated to encompass three stages:
  1. Experimental investigation of the different parameters (some of them indicated in Figures 1a & 1b)
  2. Develop models at mesoscopic scale which can be used for engineering design based on Lattice Boltzmann. 
  3. Design of fractionation stack. (Figure 2)

Figure 2: Membrane fractionation stack.