We propose a multi-scale simulation approach to model forward osmosis (FO) processes using substrates with layered homogeneous morphology. This approach accounts not only for FO setup but also for detailed microstructure of the substrate using the digitally reconstructed morphology. We fabricate a highly porous block copolymer membrane, which has not been explored for FO heretofore, and use it as the substrate for interfacial polymerization. The substrate has three sub-layers, namely a top layer, a sponge-like middle layer, and a nonwoven fabric layer. We generate a digital microstructure for each layer, and verify them with experimental measurements. The permeability and effective diffusivity of each layer are computed based on their virtual microstructures and used for FO operation in cross-flow setups at the macro scale. The proposed simulation approach predicts accurately the FO experimental data.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-184
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Jun 6 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors thank Ms. Poornima Madhavan and Dr. Haizhou Yu for their valuable advice on the block copolymer membrane preparation. The research reported in this publication was sponsored by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Filtration and Separation
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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