Predicting Flux Rates against Pressure via Solution-Diffusion in Reverse Osmosis Membranes

  • H. A. Maddah Department of Chemical Engineering, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia


This paper suggests a new method of predicting flux values at Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination plants. The solution-diffusion model is utilized to determine the osmotic pressure drops for seawater sources. The same technique was applied to the groundwater source at the Abqaiq plant (500 RO plant) to calculate the osmotic pressure. The calculated osmotic pressures were utilized to determine the appropriate flux rates and membrane resistances of different BWRO Toray membranes and a performance comparison between various membranes has been established. The model results confirm an inverse relationship between membrane thickness and water flux rate. Also, a proportional linear relation between the overall water flux and the applied pressure is identified. Higher flux rates and lower salinity indicate lower membrane resistance yielding higher production. The modeled data predict that BWRO Toray TM720D-440 with an 8" membrane is the optimal choice for treating waters from the three water sources at the Abqaiq plant.

Keywords: reverse osmosis, treatment, desalination, modeling


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