Monday, May 16, 2011

How does Reverse Osmosis Work?

In order to better understand the term Reverse Osmosis, let’s start out by defining Osmosis. Osmosis is produced by nature and  membrane technology by the passing of one solvent  with low concentration through a semi-permeable membrane into a solvent of  higher concentrate in attempt to balance or dilute the more concentrated side.
Typical Reverse Osmosis Membrane
There are different types of membranes.  Some are impermeable which means nothing  will pass through them.  Take Saran Wrap for example.  This is an impermeable membrane, nothing can get through it.   The other type of membrane  is semi permeable which means some atoms or molecules will pass through it.  One of the best examples of semi permeable membranes are in our own body, the lining of your intestines or cell walls. Osmosis occurs when a semi permeable membrane is placed between two levels of liquids that have different concentrates.  The liquid with the lower concentrate will seek out the higher concentrate in an attempt to equalize them.   This phenomenon frequently occurs naturally in animal life and vegetation.   This is why drinking salt water can literally kill you.  Drinking salt water at a high concentrate will cause your stomach wall to draw water through its membrane walls from your body in attempt to equalize or dilute the concentrate.  This could result in severe dehydration and ultimately death. 

In Reverse Osmosis, pressure is exerted on the concentrated side to force the water molecules through the membrane to the pure water side.   This is the opposite of Osmosis, thus the term Reverse Osmosis.

In water purification, Reverse Osmosis is commonly used  in residential and commercial applications.  Private boats all the way up to large ships use Reverse Osmosis for desalination of sea water as well.   Reverse Osmosis can also be used to purify other liquids with undesirable purity.
Many Sizes of Reverse Osmosis For Many Applications

For more information on Reverse Osmosis and Water Purification:
visit Vibrant Water Engineering

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