Conwed 3D printed feed spacers tested in water research study

The study titled “Development and characterization of 3D-printed feed spacers for spiral wound membrane systems” and published by Elsevier — Water Research 91 (2016) 55-67 — is one example of the reverse osmosis (RO) efforts in which Conwed has collaborated with industry researchers and professionals to expand knowledge about RO feed spacers and their impact on biofouling, membrane damage and pressure drop. Conwed manufactures a full line of RO feed spacers for diverse filtration systems. The company pioneered the use of 3D printed feed spacers, experimenting with new technologies and alternatives to manufacture feed spacers in small scale settings. These 3D printing efforts also helped Conwed accelerate the testing and trial process of newer designs and configurations that imitated real conditions from actual water desalination facilities. The study offers a comparison of 3D printed and commercial feed spacers with identical and different geometries. Conwed observed in other previous testing efforts and trials, a performance difference when feed spacer thickness, angles and chemical formulations were modified. This joint research also covers some numerical modeling and experimental readings on hydraulics and biofouling. The researchers mention that a combination of numerical modeling of feed spacers and exploratory testing of 3D printed feed spacers is a promising strategy to develop advanced feed spacers targeting the reduction of biofilm formation on membrane performance and improving cleanability of spiral-wound nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO).