An overview of reverse osmosis
Reverse osmosis is the separation or filtration method by which many types of molecules and ion particles are removed from the solution through porous membrane-technology filtration. Reverse osmosis systems work very well at removing all types of hard minerals and contaminants in the water. Hard water minerals are easily removed from the reverse osmosis membrane.
An amount of pressure is applied to the solution that is on one side of the membrane. The solute particle remains in the pressurized part of the absorbent membrane while the solvent is allowed to pass to the other side. The absorbent membrane stops the larger molecules and ions and permits just the small molecules and ions to penetrate its pores.
Reverse Osmosis or Normal Osmosis
In normal osmosis, the solvent is allowed to penetrate through the absorbent membrane, usually from a low solute concentration area to the high solute concentration area. As a result, the chemical potential equilibrium or the osmotic pressure is acquired. In reverse osmosis, the solvent is shifted from high solute to low solute concentration area by applying high external pressure. In simple words, the reverse osmosis is the reverse of the normal osmosis.
Reverse Osmosis and Its Application
The principle of reverse osmosis was applied in various industries to help purify water. Some of them are waste water treatment and reverse osmosis desalination, minerals reclamation, and water purification. This technology is used all across the globe in filtering water for dialysis in hospitals, cosmetic drugs, as well as injections.
Reverse osmosis desalination has users both in industries as well as in houses. The most useful property of these plants is the purification of drinking water both in residential as well as commercial scale. Portable reverse osmosis is widely used by the households for individual water purification in rural and urban areas.
Wastewater and rainwater also get purified with the Reverse Osmosis Systems and used for industrial cooling and landscape irrigation purposes. The RO systems are used to remove minerals from boiler water at the power plants and other sectors of the industries such as pharmaceutical, metal furnishing, semiconductor, etc. This is also used for producing deionized water.
Reverse osmosis desalination is used in the food industry for processing the protein powder and concentration of liquids especially fruit juices and milk. This is practiced for various benefits such as lower operating cost, low shipping cost and to avoid heat treatment so that absorb the enzymes and protein of various food products. Water is processed through reverse osmosis desalination plant have low a content of mineral, this water is often used to wash vehicles so as to prevent the vehicles from water spotting.
Along with these properties, reverse osmosis is also used in the production of maple syrup and some small scale production of hydrogen. They are now used by the marine aquarium enthusiasts. Most reef aquarium keepers make use of the reverse osmosis water for their artificial mixture of seawater, as most of the times tap water have higher levels of chlorine, phosphates, copper, chloramines, nitrogen, etc.