Effects of multiple-stage membrane process designs on the achievable performance of automatic control

Kevin W K Yee, Alessio Alexiadis, Jie Bao, Dianne E. Wiley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


There is limited information from literature on the dynamic operability of membrane processes with multiple stages or loops. Such information is useful for assessing the performance achievable by an automatic controller proposed for a process design before the actual controller is implemented. Based on dynamic modeling of an industrial whey ultrafiltration process with an increasing number of stages up to a maximum of 12, the dynamic responses of the flowrate and concentration of the retentate were obtained. Features of the dynamic responses were used to determine the performance, in terms of quality and speed, that can be achieved by automatic controllers. In particular, limitations on the performance are indicated by features of dynamic responses such as effective time delay and inverse responses. Changes in effective time delay and inverse responses with the number of stages in the whey ultrafiltration process demonstrate a trade-off between process performance and control performance. This trade-off should be considered during process and controller design to maximize the economic return from the production of whey protein concentrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-291
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2008


  • Automatic control
  • Dynamic operability
  • Multiple-stage processes
  • Process design
  • Whey ultrafiltration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Filtration and Separation
  • Polymers and Plastics


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