Water is a staple for life. Though earth is largely composed of water, amazingly only 2.5 percent of it is fresh. In addition to this, only 1 percent is considered fresh and easily accessible. A great number of fresh water are trapped in glaciers.
Unfortunately, it isn’t surprising why there’s a huge percentage of the world’s population that has no access to clean drinking water. But what if you can remove contaminants from water that you thought wasn’t potable?
Enter reverse osmosis in the picture. Reverse osmosis is a concept that has practical value both in residential and in industrial settings. Reverse osmosis filtration systems remove contaminants from water including nitrates, sulfates, bacteria, chemicals, and other harmful substances that can affect your health.
How does reverse osmosis work?
Before we discuss reverse osmosis filtration, it is imperative to first know what osmosis is. The process of osmosis takes place when weaker saline solution moves to a stronger saline solution. It is typically seen in nature from your kidneys taking water from the blood to plants taking up nutrients and water from the soil.
Now that you have an idea how osmosis works, let’s discuss what reverse osmosis is. Osmosis occurs without energy required. On the other hand, to reverse the effects of osmosis, this process will require energy. It also makes use of a semi-permeable membrane that allows certain particles to pass through.
Step by step application of reverse osmosis
A lot of filtration systems work with different layers of filtration. For instance, there are systems that even have a pre-filter stage. It is designed to take out the large sediments such as dirt that can get in the way of the reverse osmosis filter.
Next, water is then pushed towards the reverse osmosis membrane. This is possible by applying pressure higher than what is found in osmotic pressure. The amount of pressure needed to push the water containing contaminants will depend on the number of contaminants’ within the water.
This drives the water into the semi-permeable membrane. Here, the majority of the contaminants, depending on the semi-permeable membrane, will be left behind in the reject stream. Typically, contaminants such as fluoride, chlorine, detergents, pesticides, and lead are among the most common substances that are left behind with the reject stream as water molecules enter the semi-permeable membrane.
However, semi-permeable membranes have different capacities. This is why a flow restrictor is a must in every reverse osmosis filtration system. A flow restrictor regulates the rate that water goes into the membrane to help achieve the best output.
A lot of households today enjoy multiple layers of reverse osmosis filtration in order to achieve the safest water quality that they can use at home. Examples of additional filters include things such as carbon filters.
Why include carbon filters? Often times, you still can’t get the best tasting water even if it already has no contaminants that can cause harm to your health. What carbon filters do is to serve as a post filter. The use of a post filter is to ensure that there’s no odor or tastes from water that goes through reverse osmosis.
The world is in dire need of clean, drinkable water. Over the years, a lot of organizations have exerted their effort in bringing drinkable water to different parts of the world. Thanks to the concept of reverse osmosis, it is possible to turn even salt water into drinkable water.
In fact, reverse osmosis has many practical applications. It is used in many households in order to ensure that family members are drinking water safely. It can also be used in industries to desalinate water and turn salt water into drinking water.