Reverse osmosis is a vitally important water purification method that creates pure, safe drinking water for developed and developing countries alike. But what exactly is it, and how does it work? This article will give you the basics of how reverse osmosis works and how it can be implemented on both large-scale sites and in the home also.
What is Reverse Osmosis?
To put it in the simplest terms, reverse osmosis is a system that helps to purify water using different material layers to separate out the chemicals from water. It does so because the materials used have very tiny pores that allow clean water to pass through but stops the larger molecules with impurities attached from getting through. Reverse osmosis is a great system for creating pure drinking water, and systems have been engineered that can be used either on a large or small scale. In the case of reverse osmosis water filters, the water is filtered through a series of membranes.
What does the membrane remove?
A typical membrane used for reverse osmosis will be able remove anything in the water that is larger than 0.001 microns. That number in itself might not mean much to you, but believe me, it is incredibly tiny and incredibly important. Things that can be filtered out by such membranes include the Polio virus, carbon nanoparticles, tobacco smoke, blood cells, human hair, chloride, cyanide, lead and most other particles too. As a result, this process leaves you with extremely pure water. It will undoubtedly leave some very small elements in the water, however these will be at such a low concentration that it will in no way be harmful or even noticeable.
Not every membrane is equal
It is important to note that not every membrane is made the same, some will be made to a much higher quality than others. There are several things that you should look at when you need to replace the membranes; the most importantly is the manufacturer and the standards and tolerances of their products. Furthermore, depending on how dirty or polluted the water is before it is being filtered and the quality of the filter you are using, your results may vary. In situations with highly polluted water you may be better off filtering it through several membranes rather than one. That way, the system will have different micron filters that narrow down the pollution each time until it is pure enough to drink.
What are the benefits of using Reverse Osmosis systems?
There are many advantages to using this type of water treatment over other methods, including:
- Improved taste and appearance of water
- Highly effective and tested purification process
- It doesn’t collect pollutants
- It’s easy to maintain and clean
- Energy comsumption is comparitively low
- Production costs are low
It is for these reasons that many people will end up choosing a system like this rather than chemical treatments and other filtration systems. When a reverse osmosis water filter has been installed and set up, and as long as it’s correctly maintained it is one of the best systems available for creating pure drinking water.
What systems use reverse osmosis?
Despite the fact that you’d probably never heard of this filtration system before, reverse osmosis is used worldwide, and for a variety of reasons too. One of the most common uses is desalination, or removing the salt particles from sea water to make it drinkable. It has also proved useful for water recycling and wastewater treatment – whilst this might sound potentially dangerous at first, as long as a 0.001 micron filtration system is used then almost everything can be eliminated except pure water.
It is possible to get smaller scale systems for domestic use too. The best thing about these is that you don’t have to commit to replacing your home’s existing water system, as there are under the sink systems that allow you to connect a filter under the sink which filters water and fills a storage tank which is then tapped into.