This study investigated the application of a polyelectrolyte (PE)-assisted metallic iron nanoparticle-integrated forward osmosis (FO) membrane to treat synthetic spacecraft wastewater comprising urea, ammonium carbonate, and linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS). The draw solution (MgSO4) diluted via the FO operation was further treated using a nanofiltration (NF) membrane aimed at producing potable quality water by the FO-NF hybrid process. A cellulose triacetate FO membrane was functionalized by layer-by-layer deposition of polyallylamine hydrochloride (PAH) and polyacrylic acid (PAA) followed by incorporating zero valent iron nanoparticles (ZVINP) within the "bilayers". It required 14 bilayers to ensure a uniform coating as demonstrated via scanning electron microscopy image examination. The PE modification of the FO membrane counteracted the effects of membrane fouling and internal concentration polarization. Although the modified membrane appeared to accumulate slightly more foulants than the unmodified membrane, the modified membrane demonstrated higher water flux. After 10 hours of the FO operation, the water flux of the unmodified membrane observed a decreased while the modified membranes FS remained constant throughout. The reverse salt flux of the unmodified membrane was higher than the functionalized membrane. The RSF of the unmodified membrane increased while the modified membranes results remained constant throughout the process. The higher water flux of the functionalized membrane can be attributed to the deposition of PE-ZVINP that may have reduced the effects of ICP and RSF. The performance of the FO-NF hybrid process was evaluated by comparing the removal of nitrogen (TN) and total organic carbon (TOC) from the wastewater using a bench-scale setup. When using the modified FO membrane, the system removed 85.6% of TN and 86.2% TOC. This hybrid FO-NF system is expected to reduce the overall energy input and membrane operation cost when treating various wastewaters including the spacecraft wastewater.


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Graduation Date





Sadmani, A H M Anwar


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering

Degree Program

Environmental Engineering; Environmental Engineering Sciences


CFE0009838; DP0027779





Release Date

June 2023

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)