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On the understanding and feasibility of “breakthrough” osmosis.

Wu, Jun Jie and Field, Robert W. (2019) 'On the understanding and feasibility of “breakthrough” osmosis.', Scientific reports., 9 (1). p. 16464.


Osmosis is the movement of solvent across a permselective membrane induced by a solute-concentration gradient. Now in ‘Forward Osmosis’ it is empirically observed that the diffusion of the solute is counter to that of the solvent i.e. there is so-called “reverse salt diffusion”. However it has been recently suggested, in a theoretical paper, that if allowance is made for minor deviations from ideal semi-permeability then operation in an overlooked mode of “breakthrough” osmosis would be possible and importantly it would yield relatively large rates of osmosis. A consequential prediction was that in “breakthrough mode”, Pressure-Retarded Osmosis (PRO) would generate very high power densities exceeding those in the conventional mode by one order of magnitude. The practicality of this suggestion was explored and necessarily questions were then raised regarding the foundation of the Spiegler-Kedem-Katchalsky model.

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Publisher statement:Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:20 November 2019
Date of first online publication:11 November 2019
Date first made open access:20 November 2019

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