• computational fluid dynamics (CFD);
  • cell settler;
  • perfusion;
  • mammalian cell culture;
  • scale-up


The inclined multiplate (lamella) gravity settler has proven to be an effective cell retention device in industrial perfusion cell culture applications. Investigations on the effects of geometric design and operational variables of the cell settler are crucial to understanding how to best improve the settler performance. Maximizing the harvest/perfusion flow rate while minimizing viable cell loss out of the harvest is the primary challenge for optimization of the settler design. This study demonstrated that computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can be utilized to accurately model and evaluate the settler separation performance for near-monodisperse suspensions and therefore aid in the design optimization of the settler under these baseline conditions. With the preferred geometric features that were identified from CFD modeling results, we proposed design guidelines for the scale-up of these multiplate settler systems. With these guidelines and performance verification using the CFD model, a new large-scale settler was designed and fabricated for a perfusion cell culture process using a minimally aggregating production cell line. Perfusion cell culture runs with this particular cell line were performed with this settler, and the CFD model was able to predict the initial ramp-up performance, proving it to be a valuable scale-up design tool for this production process. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011