Membrane process technology and modeling


© Fraunhofer IKTS
Membrane plant for the recycling of hot and highly alkaline cleaning baths
Pervaporation plant for the testing of industrial scale zeolite membranes
Vapor permeation plant for membrane and process characterization

Description of the field of activity


The characterization, testing, application and implementation of ceramic membranes in processes are the main activities of membrane process technology/modeling. 
The activities cover a wide range, starting from the investigation of mass transport processes in porous media on a molecular scale, the analysis of mechanical and thermal behavior of components and component assemblies up to practical applications, pilot scale tests and the construction of testing and pilot plants.
Regarding the content we are focusing on the application of membranes in environmentally and energetically relevant areas. Examples are the increase of energetic efficiency of bioethanol production by membrane processes (among others breaking of azeotropic compositions) or the application of pressure driven membrane processes for the treatment or recycling of media.  
The energetic optimization of the membrane process and possible combinations of membrane process and further processes, for example chemical reactions (membrane reactor) are examined as well.
For testing of membranes in liquid filtration, pervaporation, vapor permeation and gas permeation testing equipment and adequate analytisc are used. These equipment also enables process development for the application of membranes developed at the Fraunhofer IKTS in new fields of application .


Services offered


  • Development, construction and prototype construction of membrane plants (liquid filtration, pervaporation, vapor permeation, gas permeation) and plants for membrane characterization
  • application and pilot scale tests for membrane processes
  • membrane characterization
  • analysis of mass transfer processes and membrane separation mechanisms 
  • modeling of “multi physics” problems
  • calculation of mechanical and thermal behavior of parts and assemblies made from technical ceramics and non ceramic materials at operational conditions
  • suitable-to-ceramic construction of assemblies on the basis of previous simulations of thermal and mechanical stress and material properties


Technical equipment


  • Membrane plants for liquid filtration (microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration), pervaporation, vapor permeation and gas permeation  
  • Software: CAD: Autodesk Inventor; SolidWorks; FEM: Cosmos/M, SolidWorks Simulation Premium; CFD: FloEFD, Multiphysics: Comsol




  • Modeling of material and assembly performance of MIEC membranes
  • Gas separation with ceramic membranes
  • Modeling of fluid transport in porous structures for filtration application

Current research

KeraMOL – cost-efficient ceramic membranes for drinking water supply

Current research

CE-compliant membrane filtration plants for applied research

Current research

Mixed-matrix membrane for the extraction of a sustainable solvent from molasse


Heat and fluid flow simulation for process applications


Multiphysics modeling of ceramic oxygen permeable membranes


Simulation-based development of components made of technical ceramics