Air Gap Membrane Distillation Cell

Sterlitech’s “plug and play” AGMD test cell is a bench-scale cross/tangential flow test cell that mimics the conditions representative of a large-scale AGMD system while using minimal amounts of membrane or product. Air Gap Membrane Distillation is a thermally driven separation technique  in which  vapors travel through a hydrophobic membrane.  The standard AGMD cell has a membrane active area of 45.6 cm2 (7.1 in2) and an air gap of 5.6 mm (0.22 in).  Note: AGMD cell may also be custom made.
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AGMD test cell offers researchers fast and accurate performance data in order to easily evaluate the performance of membranes or membrane separation processes.

Membrane Distillation (MD) is widely employed in desalination, concentration in food industries, acid manufacturing, removing organic and heavy metals, and treating radioactive waste.

The MD process offers advantages such as:

  • Low operating temperatures
  • Low hydrostatic pressures
  • Less susceptibility to fouling
  • Ability to use renewable energy or waste heat

All of this translates into lower energy requirements, compared to high pressure or high temperature processes.

The standard AGMD cell has a membrane active area of 45.6 cm2 (7.1 in2) and an air gap of 5.6 mm (0.22 in). This is available in Acrylic with a maximum operating pressure of 400 psi (27.5 bar). Acrylic AGMD cell provides a great opportunity to visually investigate the hydrodynamic conditions in the cell or the local fouling intensity.

In order to operate the AGMD Cell, additional parts and equipment are required, which include:

  • Feed and coolant solution flow pump
  • Feed spacers which mimic hydrodynamic conditions of large scale membrane modules
  • Feed and coolant tanks to connect to the cell
  • Pressure control valve to pressurize the cell
  • Temperature controllers for the feed and coolant solutions

Please visit the forward osmosis cell system component page for the list of all the parts and equipment required to build a complete filtration system configured with AGMD cell and other cross/tangential flow cells that Sterlitech offers.



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Membrane Distillation (MD) is widely employed in separation processes such as:

  • Desalination
  • Concentration in food industries
  • Acid manufacturing
  • Removing organic and heavy metals
  • Treating radioactive waste

Sterlitech carries membranes specifically for membrane distillation:

These membranes vary in terms of pore size, thickness, polymer, which in turn effect permeability, chemical compatibility, and water entry pressure. All are hydrophobic, and have different maximum operating temperatures.

PDF View the P&ID for  the analog system configured with DCMD Cell

PDF Acrylic Chemical Resistance

PDF Membrane Distillation Cell Manual