Osmotic pressure estimation using the Pitzer equation for forward osmosis modelling

M. Khraisheh, N. Dawas, M. S. Nasser, Jaber Al Marri, Muataz Atieh, S. Adham, G. McKay

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Forward osmosis (FO) has received widespread recognition in the past decade due to its potential low energy production of water. This study presents a new model analysis for predicting the water flux in FO systems when inorganic-based draw solutions are used under variable experimental conditions for using a laboratory scale cross-flow single cell unit. The new model accounts for the adverse impact of concentration polarization (both ICP and ECP) incorporating the water activity by Pitzer to calculate the bulk osmotic pressures. Using the water activity provides a better correlation of experimental data than the classical van’t Hoff equation. The nonlinear model also gave a better estimate for the structural parameter factor (S) of the membrane in its solution. Furthermore, the temperature and concentration of both the draw and feed solutions played a significant role in increasing the water flux, which could be interpreted in terms of the mass transfer coefficient representing ECP; a factor sensitive to the hydraulics of the system. The model provides greatly improved correlations for the experimental water fluxes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Technology (United Kingdom)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019



  • draw solution
  • Forward osmosis
  • membrane separation
  • osmotic pressure
  • water flux modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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