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How Reverse Osmosis Works

Updated on April 18, 2017

Reverse Osmosis Explained

Do you have questions about reverse osmosis in an industrial setting? Well you have come to the right place!

This page will shed some light on the science and process of reverse osmosis, as it relates to industrial water filtration.

How Reverse Osmosis Works

Overcoming Natural Osmotic Pressure

Reverse osmosis is the opposite of a naturally occurring osmosis process. In nature, osmosis occurs when a liquid with a low level of dissolved solids passes through a semi-permeable membrane into a liquid with a higher level of dissolved solids. This process continues until the pressure on both sides of the membrane is equalized.

In reverse osmosis, the natural forces of osmosis are reversed using man induced pressure so that the water with a higher concentration of dissolved solids is forced through a semi-permeable membrane onto the side with a lower concentration of dissolved solids.

The semi-permeable membranes used in reverse osmosis are engineered to only allow the passage of water molecules and to trap contaminants. The end result is drinkable water.

The Science of Reverse Osmosis

A Look at Reverse Osmosis Membranes

The reverse osmosis process makes use of a semi-permeable membrane that removes up to 99% of dissolved minerals, virtually all particulate matter and many dissolved organic compounds. RO membranes are typically made up of three layers. The three layer setup provides a high filtration rate, high durability, and excellent filtering properties.

Larger RO systems utilize a pressure pump to drive water through the semi-permeable membrane. These systems typically operate at 125-250 psi and have a recovery rate of 25%-75%.

Water should be pre-treated to prevent scaling and fouling of the membrane.

Advancements in technology such as improved modular equipment design and construction, integrated self-cleaning systems, improved membrane filtration technologies and automated fail-safe operations, have all contributed to improved RO processing and output.

Dialysis Machine
Dialysis Machine

Applications for Reverse Osmosis

Typical Uses for Industrial RO

Reverse osmosis, sometimes referred to as RO, is used by commercial and industrial businesses to remove unwanted minerals, particles, and organic compounds from the water. RO is effective at eliminating up 95% of these contaminates.

Reverse osmosis is used in a number of different industries such as: restaurants, car wash facilities, pharmacies, healthcare clinics, and industrial printing facilities. Reverse osmosis is also used to purify water used for dialysis and laboratory use.

Applications for reverse osmosis include: process water reclamation and recycling; dialysis water treatment; food and beverage production; boiler water pre-treatment; filtration for water jet cutting machines; rinse water filtration.

Images of Reverse Osmosis Equipment

© 2017 IndustrialWater

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