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Simulation of zinc extraction from aqueous solutions using polymeric hollow-fibers



Modeling and simulation of zinc extraction from aqueous solutions with di(2-ethylhexyl) phosphoric acid as extractant was conducted in this research. The simulated device for providing contact between two phases is a microporous hollow-fiber membrane contactor. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) method was applied for simulation of zinc extraction in this study. From the simulation results, concentration and pressure distributions were obtained for zinc to analyze the ability of membrane in extraction of zinc. The results of simulation revealed that extraction of Zn2+ from aqueous solutions is dependent on the flow rate of feed solution. It was observed that extraction efficiency of zinc was reduced with increasing feed flow rate. It is also indicated that the pressure drop along the shell side of the membrane extractor is not considerable. The latter is one of the advantages of membrane extractors which assist in reducing the separation costs for zinc recovery. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 54:2222–2227, 2014. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers