Reverse osmosis water filtration is a biological technology that is used to remove harmful contaminants that are found in water. A semipermeable membrane is used in the process to remove impurities. Since untreated water has many contents, the membrane only allows smaller particles of solvents to migrate from a highly-concentrated region to one that has low concentration.
The movement of water particles is facilitated by applying force that is more powerful than osmotic pressure. At the end of the process, you’re left with pure and crisp water that is safe for drinking and domestic use. Although you may not know, reverse osmosis is actually used to clean bottled water. You can also find the reverse osmosis technique in some of the best water filters available for your home.
Why Reverse Osmosis is Needed
Water is a basic human need but nowadays it’s hard to get clean water. The increase in the population has contributed to an increase in water pollution. The pesticides that we spray our plants with to fight against rampant pests are washed away into the lakes and rivers that are the sources of our water. Besides that, pipes that are used to deliver water into our homes are made of metal that wears off and gets dissolved in it.
Getting these pollutants out of water without using reverse osmosis is almost impossible. Drinking contaminated water can cause you to contract waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid, and some types of cancer among many other illnesses.
The Selective Process
Reverse osmosis is a naturally selective process. The membrane that’s used has pores that doesn’t allow elements with smaller particles to go through it. The water that we use at our homes has many harmful contents; such contaminants can only be removed by allowing water to go through a reverse osmosis water filtration system. In a typical osmosis process, the solvents migrate from low-concentration region to high-concentration region.
The system usually has a semipermeable membrane that makes it impossible for large particles to go through it. In order to be left with clean water that is free from pollutants, the pressure is hiked up to beat the osmotic pressure of the solution.
The water treatment systems that use reverse osmosis come with a thick layer of polymer matrix. Thickness is needed so that the membrane can survive from the external pressure that is applied to the water. Beyond the thick layer is another thin layer that is specifically reserved for reversing osmosis. The membrane is fitted onto the filters of water filtration systems to enable people to purify water in their homes. In most cases, a system that employs reverse osmosis water filtration has five cartridge filters whose functions are outlined below:
- The first stage filter that captures particles of rust and calcium carbonate and other soluble impurities
- Second stage filter that comes with smaller holes to trap larger particles
- Third stage filter that is made from carbon that’s activated. The filter captures chlorine and other organic solvents that pose a threat to the thin membrane film. This is actually the main reason as to why filters wear out after they have been used for a long time
- A reverse osmosis cartridge filter that has a very thin membrane
- A fifth stage carbon filter is, in some cases, included for the sake of capturing contaminants that might have gone through the reverse osmosis filter
Uses of Reverse Osmosis
- Waste water treatment: water has, of late, become scarce due to an increase in human population. Over the years, reverse osmosis has been used to purify wastewater to address the issue of the water shortage. In some regions, purified water is used for watering plants on farms. The process is also used to treat groundwater before it’s piped to homes. Big factories use reverse osmosis to treat water from their boilers so that they can use it again. Such water must be treated to remove all the impurities because they can damage the piping system due to corrosion that’s caused by the contaminants
- In food production: companies that manufacture fruit juices and other beverages prefer to use reverse osmosis due to its cheap nature
- Maple syrup production: maple syrup is made from sap and this sap contains about 78 percent water. Reverse osmosis is therefore used to separate the syrup from water
- Supply of fresh water to aquariums: fish that are put in aquariums cannot survive if the water is contaminated with impurities. Some aquariums come fitted reverse osmosis water filters to remove any pollutants to make sure the water remains fresh and oxygenated
- Production of hydrogen: reverse osmosis is used to ensure that mineral deposits do not accumulate on the surface of electrodes
- Cleaning glass windows: nowadays professional window cleaners are opting for water that has been treated through reverse osmosis instead of the usual detergents. This is because pure water does not leave any marks on the window panels. A soft brush is mounted on a lengthy pole to make the wiping process less cumbersome