Forward Osmosis Membranes for Wastewater Treatment

Project Summary

Research Advisor:  Haiqing Lin (Chemical and Biological Engineering)

Project Theme:  Pollutant Source Control

Growing concerns over the environmental impact of the hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells have prompted more stringent regulations and discharge limits of the waste management, especially for the wastewater.  Forward osmosis (FO) has emerged as potential sustainable ways in recovering water for reuse.  However, the technological impact of the membrane process is limited by low water flux of membranes.  At the study site, REU student(s) will prepare and characterize novel impregnated membranes with potentially high performance for FO applications.  The key properties to be determined include water and NaCl solubility, diffusivity and permeability.  The effect of membrane operating conditions including spacers, and the salt content and flow rate of the feed and draw solution on the FO performance will be evaluated.  The student(s) will be exposed to multidisciplinary research integrating materials science, separation science, and environmental engineering.

Primary Activities:  Polymeric membranes; gas separation; water purification

Skills/Courses Recommended:  Basic knowledge of fluid mechanics; wastewater purification

Anticipated Conference Participation:  North American Membrane Society; American Chemical Society