Reverse osmosis (RO) is a compact process that has potential for the removal of ionic and organic pollutants for recycling space mission wastewater. Seven candidate RO membranes were compared using a batch stirred cell to determine the membrane flux and the solute rejection for synthetic space mission wastewaters. Even though the urea molecule is larger than ions such as Na+, Cl-, and NH4+, the rejection of urea is lower. This indicates that the chemical interaction between solutes and the membrane is more important than the size exclusion effect. Low pressure reverse osmosis (LPRO) membranes appear to be most desirable because of their high permeate flux and rejection. Solute rejection is dependent on the shear rate, indicating the importance of concentration polarization. A simple transport model based on the solution-diffusion model incorporating concentration polarization is used to interpret the experimental results and predict rejection over a range of operating conditions. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.
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