Water issues have recently become a global issue that calls for the purification of any source of water to make it fit for human consumption and application in agriculture. Reverse osmosis water filtration system is a technology used in water purification by using a semi-permeable membrane to remove particles from drinking water. The process can remove different types of particles, including bacteria, and is now widely used in production of portable water as well as in industrial process.
How does reverse osmosis work?
Although reverse process seems like a very complex system, it is just a simple water purification process that has been in use for many years. The process uses a semi-permeable membrane to separate pure water or any other solvent from a solution that is less pure. When a semi-permeable membrane separates two solutions of different concentrations, water tends to move through the membrane to the high concentrated solution due to osmotic pressure. If adequate counter-pressure is applied to the high concentrated solution, then the flow of water can be reversed.
Water molecules in the semi-permeable membrane can form hydrogen bonds and perfectly fit into the membrane’s matrix. These molecules that enter the semi-permeable membrane through hydrogen bonding can be successfully pushed through under adequate pressure. All organic substances with molecular weights of 100+ (bacteria, viruses, pyrogens and oils) are sieved out.
Salts ions are rejected depending on the valence of their ions through the dielectric interaction mechanism. This is where those ions with high charges are repelled to greater distances as compared to those with lower charges.
Reverse osmosis membranes
Most Home Master reverse osmosis system (RO) semi-permeable membranes are mostly made from polyamide, polysulfonate and cellulose acetate. These membranes usually consist of a skin of 0.25 microns and have a support layer of around 100 microns. These skins act as active barriers that allow only water to pass through them.
Application of reverse osmosis
Just like aforementioned, reverse osmosis system has many industrial applications. These include:
Desalination of water – this is used in homes (for instance, filtering water while camping) and in large water plants.
The process is also used in removing many different minerals from drinking water. For instance, some water sources have high fluoride levels, which can lead to mottled teeth (enamel fluorosis) and skeletal fluorosis (bending of a person’s bones). RO is used in filtering fluorine out of such sources.
Reverse osmosis is also widely used in recycling. Chemicals used in treating metals for treating create harmful waste-waters. RO can be used to get clean water from such chemical disposals.
The dairy industry also uses reverse osmosis to concentrate milk and whey. The wine industry is also using the process to remove unwanted elements such as smoke and acids or to regulate alcohol content.
6 Stage reverse osmosis system has a simply process in which dissolved solids (such as metals and salts) are removed from an aqueous solution. This is achieved through applying some pressure on the highly concentrated solution (one with the dissolved solution). The pressure forces clean water to move from the solution through a semi-permeable membrane to a low concentrated solution. This process has many applications ranging from personal to commercial applications.
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