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Durham University

Department of Engineering

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Jun Jie Wu

Field R. & Wu, J.J. (2013). Mass transfer limitations. Desalination 318: 118-124.

Author(s) from Durham


The key process engineering differences between reverse osmosis (RO) forward osmosis (FO) and pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) are emphasized. Attention is drawn to the importance of mass transfer limitations which are more severe in FO than in other membranes as module size increases. Comprehensive general equations are developed and applied to selected recent data. The supposedly linear performance with increasing draw solution concentration mentioned by some is incorrect. The maximum possible water flux through a FO membrane used in a desalination application is proportional to LN(πd/πf), where πd and πf are the osmotic pressures of the draw solution and the saline feed water, respectively. Scepticism is expressed as to whether FO will ever contend with RO for the production of potable water by sea water desalination because the strength of the draw solution for comparable fluxes to RO is given by View the MathML source where ΔP is the TMP in RO. The future of FO probably lies with the dewatering of very high salinity brines, niche applications and possibly PRO.