Reverse Osmosis: How it Works

Reverse osmosis refers to the process of passing water through a semi-permeable membrane that allows the water molecules to pass through while repelling other impurities. Water is forced under pressure to pass through a synthetic semi-permeable membrane that has the special quality of dissolving impurities in the water while attracting water molecules. Even molecules smaller than the water molecules are unable to pass through the membrane. The process of reverse osmosis is used to remove all types of contaminants found in water, including viruses, parasites, metals, chemicals, algae and pesticides.

While there are many water treatment methods available to us, reverse osmosis is the most effective, economical and advanced method that can remove up to 98% of all impurities found in water.

The accumulated impurities that are repelled by the semi-permeable membrane are immediately flushed away, eliminating any chances of bacteria buildup. This also keeps the treated water odorless.

Water purification units employ reverse osmosis systems to oxygenate water, offering it a lively taste. Unlike reverse osmosis, water distillation, another water treatment method, can leave a dead taste in the water. It also consumes a lot of electricity.

Reverse osmosis treats a water to render it the best drinking quality possible. The processed water is very good for your family’s health. It also has a splendid taste. Owing to their sharper taste buds, kids may note the difference in taste of tap and treated water.

The process of using a semi-permeable membrane for osmosis was first observed by Jean-Antoine Nollet. By the mid-1950’s, scientists from the University of Los Angeles and the University of California at Los Angeles successfully produced fresh water from seawater using reverse osmosis. Many private and public investments have since been made to refine the process of reverse osmosis.

While there are many different applications of reverse osmosis, it is primarily used for separating fresh water from brackish water or seawater. Water is pressurized against one of the membrane’s surface, allowing the salt-depleted water through the membrane.

Reverse osmosis forces a solvent from an area of high solute concentration through a semi-permeable membrane to an area of low solute concentration by the application of a pressure that exceeds the osmotic pressure.

In addition to water purification, reverse osmosis offers many other applications, including waste water purification, maple syrup production and production of hydrogen. Reverse osmosis is an economical way of concentrating food liquids, such as fruit juices.