Simulation of forward osmosis membrane process: Effect of membrane orientation and flow direction of feed and draw solutions

Da Hee Jung, Jijung Lee, Do Yeon Kim, Young Geun Lee, Minkyu Park, Sangho Lee, Dae Ryook Yang, Joon Ha Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


Performance of forward osmosis (FO) process is significantly affected by factors such as membrane properties, concentration polarization (CP), and fouling. In this study, FO performance of a plate and frame type membrane is investigated via a numerical simulation based on mass conservation theorem. To evaluate the FO membrane performance, permeate flux and recovery rate are simulated according to membrane orientation, flow direction of feed and draw solutions, flow rate, and solute resistivity (K). In the case of membrane orientation, all-inside case, in which the draw solution faces the active layer, displays a relatively higher performance than all-outside and all-up cases. Notably, the membrane performance is highly affected by K indicating the extent of the internal CP. During the simulation approach, the spatial variation of the concentration profile was observed on a 2-dimensional membrane area; it was expected to cause a high diffusion load on a particular area of membrane, due to the relatively higher flux at that location. Moreover, it can result in unexpected fouling in a specific area on a membrane. Accordingly, the findings in this study suggest that the numerical simulation can be applied to optimize both physical properties and operation conditions, thereby ensuring cost-effective operation of FO processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Aug 15


  • Concentration polarization
  • Flow direction
  • Forward osmosis
  • Membrane orientation
  • Plate and frame (PNF) module
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Simulation of forward osmosis membrane process: Effect of membrane orientation and flow direction of feed and draw solutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this