Skip to main content

Software for predicting the brine and scaling consequences of RO desalination.

Project description

Simulating scale formation during Reverse Osmosis desalination

PyPI version Downloads License


Desalination is an unavoidable technology for meeting the 6th UN Sustainable Development Goal of providing potable for all people. Reverse Osmosis (RO) is the leading desalination technology, although, it can be further improved in energy efficiency and economic practicality by mitigating membrane fouling like mineral scaling. The geochemistry of mineral scaling is generally inaccessible to physical experimentation, and existing software programs to simulate scaling geochemistry – e.g. French Creek – are esoteric and/or financially expensive.

Reverse Osmosis Scaling Software in Python (ROSSpy) seeks to satisfy this void. ROSSpy essentially translates user specifications of an RO system into PHREEQpy, which is the Python version of PHREEQC. The examples/scaling/scaling_validation directory of the ROSSpy GitHub details the numerous functions and accuracy of ROSSPy via Notebook examples. We encourage users and developers to critique and improve ROSSpy, as an open-source (MIT License) library, through GitHub issues.


The ROSSpy framework represents RO desalination as a 1D reactive transport model of the membrane-solution interface in the RO feed channel. The feed solution can be represented either by a single, homogeneous, solution domain. The inlet boundary is defined by the Dirichlet condition, where the feed is assumed to be an infinite reservoir. The outlet boundary is defined by the Cachy condition, where the effluent is assumed to be dependent upon the reactive transport processes within the RO module.



ROSSpy is installed in a command prompt, Powershell, Terminal, or Anaconda Command Prompt via pip:

pip install rosspy


The simulation environment is defined:

import rosspy
ross = rosspy.ROSSPkg(database_selection, simulation = 'scaling', simulation_type = 'transport', domain_phase = None, quantity_of_modules = 1, simulation_title = None, verbose = False, printing = True, jupyter = False)
  • database_selection str: specifies which PHREEQ database file – Amm, ColdChem, core10, frezchem, iso, llnl, minteq, minteq.v4, phreeqc, pitzer, sit, Tipping_Hurley, or wateq4f – will be imported and used to execute the simulation. These databases were all processed via the PHREEQdb object of the ChemW module, in this specific Notebook: here.
  • simulation str: specifies whether the scaling or brine of the simulation will be evaluated.
  • simulation_type str: specifies whether RO reactive transport transport, or the geochemistry of evaporation, will be simulated with the parameterized feed solution.
  • operating_system str: specifies whether the user is using a windows or unix system, which directs importing PHREEQpy and commenting in the PQI PHREEQ input files.
  • domain_phase str: specifies whether the mobile (i.e. bulk solution) or the immobile (i.e. the CP solution layer) will be evaluated for dual domain simulations. Parameterizing an argument other than None implicitly signifies that simulation of the dual-domain model, as opposed to the default single-domain model.
  • quantity_of_modules int: specifies the number of in-series RO modules that will be simulated.
  • simulation_title str: specifies the title of the simulation, which is only observed in the PHREEQC PQI input file.
  • verbose bool: specifies whether simulation details and calculated values will be printed. This is valuable for trobuleshooting.
  • printing bool: specifies whether simulation results will be printed.
  • jupyter bool: specifies whether the simulation is being conducted in a Jupyter Notebook, which allows display() to illustrate data tables and figures.


The spatiotemporal conditions and the permeate flux, or evaporation rate, are defined for reactive transport:

ross.reactive_transport(simulation_time, simulation_perspective = None, final_cf = None, module_characteristics = {}, permeate_efficiency = 1, head_loss = 0.89, evaporation_steps = 15, timestep = None, cells_per_module = 12, kinematic_flow_velocity = None, exchange_factor = 1e5)
  • simulation_time float: specifies the total simulated time in seconds.
  • simulation_perspective str: specifies whether the simulation data is parsed to view the end of the module over the entire simulated time “all_time” or to view the entire module distance at the final timestep all_distance. The None parameter defaults to all_time for brine simulations and all_distance for scaling simulations.
  • final_cf float: specifies the effluent CF in the simulated RO system. The None parameter indicates that the linear_permeate permeate flux method will be simulated, while any numerical value indicates that a linear_cf permeate flux method will be simulated.
  • module_characteristics dict: specifies custom RO specifications that diverge from those of the default DOW FILMTEC BW30-400 RO module. The expected dictionary keys are: module_diameter_mm, permeate_tube_diameter_mm, module_length_m, permeate_flow_m3_per_day, max_feed_flow_m3_per_hour, membrane_thickness_mm, feed_thickness_mm, active_m2, permeate_thickness_mm, polysulfonic_layer_thickness_mm, support_layer_thickness_mm. Any specifications that are not defined in the parameterized dictionary defaults to that specification of the FILMTEC BW30-400 module. The dictionary values are all floats in the units from the end of the corresponding key:
"active_m2": 37,
"permeate_thickness_mm": 0.3,
"polysulfonic_layer_thickness_mm": 0.05
  • permeate_efficiency float: specifies the 0<=PE<=1 proportion of calculated permeate flux that is simulated: e.g. PE=1 denotes a perfectly operational module and PE=0.5 denotes a 50% operational module, etc.
  • head_loss float: specifies the 0<=HL<=1 proportion of effluent pressure relative to the influent. The default value of 0.89 corresponds to an 11% pressure drop.
  • cells_per_module int: specifies the quantity of cells into which the RO module is discretized. This controls the resolution of data over the distance of the module, and thus is only consequential for simulation_perspective = "all_distance" simulations.
  • kinematic_flow_velocity float: specifies the kinetic flow velocity of the feed solution. The None parameter defaults to 9.33E-7 (m^2/sec).


The feed geochemistry is defined from either a parameter file in the rosspy/water_bodies directory or in a dictionary argument, from which the potential scalants are determined:

ross.feed_geochemistry(water_selection = '', water_characteristics = {}, solution_description = '', ignored_minerals = [], existing_parameters = {}, parameterized_ph_charge = True)
  • water_selection str: specifies a feed water from the rosspy/water_bodies directory, where default parameter files for natural waters – the red_sea and the mediterranean_sea – and produced waters of fracking oil wells – the bakken_formation, marcellus_appalachian_basin, michigan_basin, north_german_basin, palo_duro_basin, and western_pennsylvania_basin – are provided. Parameter files for other feed waters can be created by emulating the syntax of these default files and storing the created file in the aforementioned directory.
  • water_characteristics dict: defines the geochemistry and conditions of a custom feed solution. The expected keys are: element, temperature (C), pe, Alkalinity, and pH. Each value of these keys is itself a dictionary, with the keys of value for the numerical value and reference to denote an experimental citation for the numerical value. The element key deviates slightly from this organization, by using another dictionary layer for each ion in the feed. The keys here, for each ion, are: concentration (ppm) for its ppm concentration, form for the mineral form or charge-state of the ion, and reference with the same aforementioned purpose. The following dictionary illustrates this organization:
   "element": {
       "Mn": {
           "concentration (ppm)": 0.000734,
           "reference": "El Sayed, Aminot, and Kerouel, 1994"
       "Si": {
           "concentration (ppm)": 95,
           "reference": "Haluszczak, Rose, and Kump, 2013",
           "form": "SiO2"
   "temperature (C)": {
       "value": 24,
       "reference": "Dresel and Rose, 2010"
  • solution_description str: briefly describes the solution, which will be used in the simulation folder name in the absence of a parameterized water_selection.
  • ignored_minerals list: defines the minerals that will be excluded from the determined set of minerals that can potentially precipitate from the parameterized feed ions.
  • existing_parameters dict: specifies pre-existing equilibria conditions that influence the geochemical calculations of PHREEQ. The expected keys are the referenced mineral names, with values of saturation and initial_moles that correspond to the pre-existing saturation index and the initial moles, respectively, of the simulated mineral.
  • parameterized_ph_charge bool: specifies whether the pH will be charged balance, where True prevents the parameterization of alkalinity in the feed solution.


This function is used to parse and execute pre-existing input file:

ross.parse_input(input_file_path, simulation, water_selection = None, simulation_name = None, active_m2= None)
  • input_file_path str: specifies the path of the existing input file that will be parsed and executed.
  • simulation str: specifies whether scaling or brine will be processed from the simulation.
  • water_selection str: describes the simulated feed water.
  • simulation_name str: specifies the name of the simulation folder to which all of the simulation files will be exported, where None defaults to a naming scheme that is designed by the software with unique simulation details.
  • active_m2 float: defines the area of active filtration in the simulated RO module, where None defaults to 37 from the standard FILMTEC BW30-400 module.


The input file is executed through PHREEQ:

ross.execute(simulation_name = None, selected_output_path = None, simulation_path = None, plot_title = None, title_font = 'xx-large', label_font = 'x-large', x_label_number = 6, export_name = None, export_format = 'svg', individual_plots = None, scale_ions = True, selected_output_filename = None,)
  • simulation_name str: specifies the name of a PHREEQ output file.
  • selected_output_path str: specifies the path of a simulation output file that will be processed into data tables and figures. This imported file can be independent of executing ROSSpy, and thus can be used to process old data. This parameter must be None to execute PHREEQ input files.
  • simulation_path str: The path to where the simulation content will be saved, where None signifies the current working directory.
  • plot_title str: specifies the title of the simulation figure, where None defaults to customized titles that incorporate unique simulation details: e.g. scaling or brine, the water body, and the total simulation time.
  • title_font & label_font str: these specify the fonts of the figure title and axis labels, respectively, in terms of MatPlotLib font specifications: xx-small, x-small, small, medium, large, x-large, or xx-large.
  • x_label_number int: quantifies the ticks along the x-axis of the simulation figure.
  • export_name str: specifies the export name of the simulation figure. The default name for brine simulations is brine . The default names for scaling simulations, depending upon a True or False value of the individual_plots argument, is an individual mineral name (e.g. Gypsum) or all_minerals, respectively.
  • export_format str: specifies the format of the exported simulation figure, from the MatPlotLib options: svg, pdf, png, jpeg, jpg, or eps. The default is svg, which is a lossless format that is highly customizable in software like Inkscape.
  • individual_plots bool: specifies whether each mineral of scaling simulations are plotted individually, or whether each scalant is plotted in a combined single figure. The None parameter defaults to True for the “all_time” simulation_perspective and False otherwise.
  • scale_ions bool: specifies whether the scale from scaling simulations will be refined into quantities of individual ions that constitute the mineral scale. This information of ionic quantities is exported as a JSON file to the simulation folder. The default value is True.
  • simulation_name str: specifies the name of the simulation folder to which simulation content will be exported. The None parameter assigns a default name for the simulation folder, which follows the format of today’s_date-ROSSpy-water_selection-simulation_type-database_selection-simulation-simulation_perspective-#.
  • input_path & output_path str: specifies the directory path to where the input file will be exported, where None defaults to “input.pqi” and “selected_output.csv”, respectively, in the current working directory.


ROSSpy can be tested with a simple built-in test() function, which can be executed through these three lines:

import rosspy
ross = rosspy.ROSSPkg(database_selection, simulation)

The Test() function executes a predefined sample simulation to exemplify ROSSpy with a simple use case.

Accessible content

A multitude of values are stored within the ROSSpy object, and can be subsequently used in a workflow. The complete list of content within the ROSSpy object can be identified and printed through the built-in dir() function in the following example sequence:

# conduct a ROSSpy simulation
from rosspy import ROSSPkg
ross = ROSSPkg(database_selection, simulation)
ross.reactive_transport(simulation_time, simulation_perspective, final_cf)
ross.feed_geochemistry(water_selection, water_characteristics)

# evaluate the ROSSpy simulation contents

The following list highlights stored content in the ROSSpy object after a simulation:

  • selected_output & processed_data DataFrame: Pandas DataFrames that possesses the raw and processed simulation data, respectively, from the PHREEQ simulation.
  • elemental_masses dict: A dictionary of the mass for each ion that constitutes precipitated scale. This is only determined for scaling simulations.
  • databases list: The available databases in the rosspy/databases/ directory.
  • feed_sources list: The available feed waters in the rosspy/water_bodies/ directory.
  • elements & minerals dict: Dictionaries of the elements and minerals, respectively, that are defined by the selected database.
  • cumulative_cf float: The final effluent CF after the entire simulation
  • input_file str: The complete PHREEQ input file of the simulation.
  • predicted_effluent dict: The predicted effluent concentrations of each ion that is defined in the feed.
  • parameters & variables dict: Dictionaries with the simulation parameters stored as key-value pairs.
  • results dict: A dictionary with the simulation results and each block of the simulation.
  • simulation_shifts float: The number of simulation shifts.
  • water_mw & water_gL float: The molecular weight and density of water, respectively.
  • chem_mw ChemMW: The ChemMW object from the ChemW module, which allows users to calculate the molecular weight from a string of any chemical formula. The formatting specifications are detailed in the README of the ChemW module.

Project details

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Source Distribution

ROSSpy-0.0.19.tar.gz (547.2 kB view hashes)

Uploaded source

Supported by

AWS AWS Cloud computing Datadog Datadog Monitoring Facebook / Instagram Facebook / Instagram PSF Sponsor Fastly Fastly CDN Google Google Object Storage and Download Analytics Huawei Huawei PSF Sponsor Microsoft Microsoft PSF Sponsor NVIDIA NVIDIA PSF Sponsor Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Salesforce Salesforce PSF Sponsor Sentry Sentry Error logging StatusPage StatusPage Status page