Date of Completion


Embargo Period



forward osmosis; pressure retarded osmosis; thin film composite membrane; interfacial polymerization; electrospinning; nanofiber; nylon 6, 6;

Major Advisor

Jeffrey R. McCutcheon

Associate Advisor

Richard Parnas

Associate Advisor

Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos

Associate Advisor

Luyi Sun

Associate Advisor

Leslie Shor

Field of Study

Chemical Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Osmotically driven processes are emerging membrane based processes that can be applied to harnesses the natural phenomenon of osmosis to address global issues related to water and energy. However, these processes have not progressed beyond conceptualization and lab scale studies due to obstacles in membrane and draw solution design, system integration and scale-up, and definitive process economics. This study focuses on addressing the primary obstacle to technology advancement: the lack of adequately designed membrane. Departing from conventional design strategy of polyamide composite membrane for osmotically driven processes that primarily focus on re-design of support structures, this dissertation presents one of the first known studies incorporating new chemistry into the membrane support design. Two classes of intrinsically or modified hydrophilic nylon 6,6 support platforms: conventional phase-inversion casting films and electrospun nanofiber mats were employed to generate high performance thin film composite membranes specifically tailored for osmosis processes. Furthermore, this work shed new insight on new membrane development and scale-up by understanding the role of support structure on selective layer formation, as well as identifying and addressing the major issues associated with processing nanofiber based membranes. It would eventually enable widespread adoption of this emerging technology platform in sustainable water and energy production.