Validation and analysis of forward osmosis CFD model in complex 3D geometries

Mathias F. Gruber, Mathias F. Gruber, Carl J. Johnson, Chuyang Tang, Mogens H. Jensen, Lars Yde, Claus Helix Nielsen

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In forward osmosis (FO), an osmotic pressure gradient generated across a semi-permeable membrane is used to generate water transport from a dilute feed solution into a concentrated draw solution. This principle has shown great promise in the areas of water purification, wastewater treatment, seawater desalination and power generation. To ease optimization and increase understanding of membrane systems, it is desirable to have a comprehensive model that allows for easy investigation of all the major parameters in the separation process. Here we present experimental validation of a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model developed to simulate FO experiments with asymmetric membranes. Simulations are compared with experimental results obtained from using two distinctly different complex three-dimensional membrane chambers. It is found that the CFD model accurately describes the solute separation process and water permeation through membranes under various flow conditions. It is furthermore demonstrated how the CFD model can be used to optimize membrane geometry in such as way as to promote the mass transfer. © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)764-782
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Desalination
  • Membranes
  • Optimization
  • Osmosis
  • Polarization
  • Seawater
  • Three dimensional computer graphics
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Water filtration
  • Water supply
  • Wave power
  • Three dimensional


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