Modeling of colloidal fouling in forward osmosis membrane: Effects of reverse draw solution permeation

Minkyu Park, Jijung Lee, Chanhee Boo, Seungkwan Hong, Shane A. Snyder, Joon Ha Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


A numerical model for predicting the flux decline due to colloidal fouling was developed for a forward osmosis (FO) membrane system. We derived the kinetic equation of the cake layer growth based on a first-order reaction and control volume approach. Based on the model simulation, it was found that the deposited particles on a membrane surface are proportional to the feed concentration and the permeate flux. Moreover, the simulation result reveals that the cake-enhanced osmotic pressure (CEOP) is a key factor diminishing the permeate flux for large colloidal foulants. For small colloidal foulants, the hydraulic resistance of the cake layer is dominant in flux decline at the beginning of the fouling and CEOP increasingly become significant as fouling progresses. The effects of the reverse draw solute permeation on the flux decline were also simulated. Interestingly, the increased reverse draw solute permeation obtained by increasing the solute permeability showed little effect on the flux decline. Contrarily, variation of the diffusivity significantly influenced the flux decline. Consequently, the numerical model developed in this paper suggests that the selection of draw solute for an FO membrane process should be carefully regarded, along with the fouling mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant ( 07seaheroB02-01 ) from the Plant Technology Advancement Program funded by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of the Korean government .

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cake-enhanced osmotic pressure (CEOP)
  • Colloidal fouling
  • Draw solute diffusivity
  • Forward osmosis (FO)
  • Reverse draw solute permeation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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