This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Novel Packaging Designs for Improvements in Air Filter Performance




Sothen, Ryan

Type of Degree



Chemical Engineering


Adsorbent entrapped media, such as microfibrous materials engineered at Auburn University, provide a novel method to effectively remove harmful airborne contaminants such as volatile organic compounds and particulate matter from polluted indoor air. These dual-functioning materials are limited in their use as air filters due to their high pressure drops and relatively small loading of adsorbent material. Utilization of a pleated filter design is a common approach in the air filtration industrial to increase the available media and reduce the pressure drop of a media. A second technique was developed to greatly increase the capacity and further reduce the pressure drop by employing numerous pleated filters into a single filter unit known as a Multi-Element Structured Array (MESA). A comprehensive pressure drop model was constructed to understand the working parameter space within these filter designs. The model was formulated on fundamental fluid dynamics equations such as Bernoulli’s Equation and empirical data obtained on custom-made filter units. The working models were shown to be successful in replicating over 1500 data points spanning 20 pleated filters and 32 MESA units. Several niche filtration designs were envisioned during the development of the model. These designs were subsequently tested to demonstrate their performance advantage over standard HVAC pleated designs based on dirt holding and power consumption. It was determined that MESA architectures can be utilized to provided equal or superior particulate removal efficiency while operating at only 20% of the power of a traditional pleated filter.