Clean Water Clean You

This quick clip will break down the process of reverse osmosis and show how you can filter for clean and pure water. At work, at home, or on the go, clean water is essential to life.

What does reverse osmosis actually do?

The Process

Reverse Osmosis is a purification technology that is effective in removing a variety of impurities from water. The process involves using a thin semipermeable membrane to separate larger particles and ions from water. The pores on the membrane are small enough to pass only water keeping the impurities at bay. Water produced from the process is of extremely high quality, which finds utility in a variety of applications. From drinking water systems to food and beverage processing to pharmaceutical companies and much more make use of the technology. The technology is known to have a history that is more than a century old. In 1748 it was first observed by Jean-Antoine Nollet. But only after the year 1950 was the technology commercialized. Until then the process was limited to the laboratories.

The process primarily involves the use of pressure to pass water through the semi-permeable membrane. Precisely the solvent is forced from a high solute concentration to a low solute concentration. Usually, water flows from low to high solute density while passing through a membrane. But with RO a pump is used to overcome this natural osmotic pressure of the water when passing through the semi-permeable membrane. In a household RO system, the force of the tap water is sufficient to carry out the process. The process comprises cross filtration with two outlets. Once the filtration is complete, the contaminated water with salts and other impurities flush out through the drain outlet and the fresh water through the other.

Benefits and Disadvantages

The Good

Using a Reverse Osmosis system for water purification can be of immense benefit in more than one way.

1.  One of the apparent advantages is that you get clean drinking water.  The process removes almost 95 to 99 per cent of the impurities including the chlorine taste and odor.

2.   Health and Well Being: Presence of high amounts of dissolved solids can make it hard for the kidneys. The RO purified water has most of the unwanted contaminants that includes even dissolved lead and sodium removed efficiently to keep you healthy.

3.   Taste: Most of the chemicals and debris are removed hence RO water tastes better in comparison to others. It makes it useful for a variety of purposes like cooking. The RO water imparts a better flavor to your food, hence is popular even in restaurants.

4.   Low Cost: The RO system is a low-cost alternative to obtain clean and purified water for a variety of purposes. Maintenance is easy, and also they consume a lower amount of energy.

5.   Levels of Purification: An RO system typically comes with different levels of purification. Hence you can customize it depending upon your need and usage levels. 

The Bad

The RO system comes with is a set of advantages as well as disadvantages. Some of the flaws of using RO purified water include;

1.    Along with the impurities, the RO system also tends to remove essential minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium which are beneficial for the body. Water deficient in such minerals can lead to symptoms like tiredness, muscle cramps and in severe cases cardiovascular disorders as well.

2.  Another major disadvantage of the process is that for every gallon of water approximately 20 gallons of water are flushed from the drain. Wastage is more than the quantity of water filtered. It also increases the time for one cycle of the filtration process.

3.   The RO system can remove dissolved solutes, but not kill viruses and bacteria. Such microorganisms can easily pass through the membrane.  Hence having a UV system along with RO is beneficial.

4. Any damage in the semi-permeable membrane cannot be easily detected. Therefore dissolved salts can quickly cross through without your knowledge.

Key Takeaways

Despite all the flaws in an RO system they are yet popular when it comes to water purification technology. With the advantages outweighing the flaws, RO plus UV systems are worth the investment particularly in household environments and food industry.

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