Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Rasim Guldiken, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathan Crane, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jose Porteiro, Ph.D.


Pleatwise, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Maximum Media Velocity, Geometric Imperfection, Prediction


Asset protection in the form of fluid filtration makes up an ever-increasing part of the civilized and industrialized world. Fluid filtration applications in the conditioned environment and life sciences are affording the world’s population a chance to better realize their potential, while industrial applications help ensure that high demand processes can be carried out safely, reliably, and effectively.

In the present work, a tool has been developed, using the computational fluid dynamics package FLUENT, to allow the designer to better predict the magnitude of geometric imperfections within a given pleat configuration.

Pleated rectangular filters, intended to improve the quality of air for human occupants, with a U-shaped pleat form have been chosen as the focus of this study. A simulation study is developed to investigate the maximum local velocity normal to the filtration surface and to characterize the magnitude of the pleatwise velocity distribution across a range of pleated geometries and flow conditions. The geometry of the U-shaped pleat form can be characterized by, amongst other parameters, the width of the pleat channel, the overall height of the individual pleat, as well as the thickness of the filtration medium. The various geometries of the current study were developed by changing the width of the pleat channel, as well as the channel height, while keeping the medium thickness constant throughout. Changing the width of the pleat channel allows the designer to achieve varying pleat densities, expressed as a number of pleats along a one inch section of the overall pleated pack. Pleat densities of 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, and 8.5 pleats per inch are considered in the current study. Pleat heights of 1.0, 0.75, and 0.50 inches are also investigated in the current study. Furthermore, the filter velocity can be characterized by the free stream velocity at the face of the filter pack, termed the face velocity, and by the velocity of the fluid at the interface with the filtration medium, referred to as media velocity. In the present work, the face velocity was adjusted in each case to achieve the desired media velocities across the study, which are 10.5, 9.0, 7.5, and 6.0 feet per minute.

In an effort to more clearly communicate the results of the study, the results are presented in the form of a non-dimensionalized plots which present the designer with a way to quickly gauge the effect of pleat geometry on maximum velocity. Additionally, two tools are presented to aid the designer in more accurately predicting the maximum filtration velocity. These tools are then evaluated for effectiveness using the method of absolute relative percent error. The assumption of uniform flow through the filtration media leads to an average absolute relative percent error of 27%. The first tool the reader is presented with is a simple correction factor which predicts the maximum filtration velocity with an average absolute relative percent error of 10% over the study domain. The second tool, which takes a slightly more complicated y-intercept form, characterizes the maximum filtration velocity as a function of average velocity and aspect ratio. This approach further reduces the average absolute relative percent error to 4%.

The results of the simulation herein are successfully employed to develop a set of simple yet effective tools that allow the filter designer to more accurately predict maximum velocities through a pleated air filter.