Reverse Osmosis, a technology used to remove large quantities of contaminants from water, is achieved by pushing water through semi-permeable membranes under pressure.
This article is for people who have little to no experience in using this technology.Reverse Osmosis waterWe will try to simplify the basics so that the reader has a better understanding.Reverse Osmosis waterTechnology and its applications.
This article discusses the following topics:
- Understanding Osmosis Reverse Osmosis Water
- How does Reverse Osmosis (RO) work?
- What contaminants does Reverse Osmosis (RO) remove?
- Design calculations and performance of Reverse Osmosis RO systems
- Understanding the differences between stages and passes in a Reverse Osmosis system (RO)
- Pre-treatment of Reverse Osmosis.
- Pre-treatment Solutions to Reverse Osmosis
- Reverse Osmosis (RO) performance trending and data normalization
- Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane cleaning
Reverse OsmosisCommonly referred to asROThis is the process of making water more soluble or less ionized by pushing it through a semi-permeable Reverse Osmosis membrane.
Reverse Osmosis is a natural process that occurs naturally. Understanding this process will help you understand its purpose and how it works.Osmosis.
Osmosis, a natural phenomenon that occurs naturally, is one of nature’s most important processes. This is when a weaker solution of saline will tend to migrate towards a stronger solution. Osmosis is when plants absorb water from the soil, and our kidneys absorb water form our blood.
Here is a diagram that explains how osmosis works. A solution with a lower concentration will naturally migrate towards a solution with a greater concentration. If you have water with a low sodium concentration in a container and water with high salt content in another container, the water with lower salt concentration will migrate to the container with higher salt content.
ASemi-permeable membraneA membrane that allows certain atoms and molecules to pass, but not others. Screen doors are a simple example. It allows air molecules to pass though, but it does not allow pests or any other larger objects to get through the screen door. Goretex clothing fabric, which is made of extremely thin plastic films with billions upon billions of pores, is another example. These pores allow water vapor to pass through but are small enough to stop liquid water from flowing.
Reverse Osmosis refers to the reverse of Osmosis.. Osmosis happens naturally and does not require energy. However, you can reverse it by applying energy to the more acidic solution. Reverse osmosis membranes are semi-permeable membranes that allow water molecules to pass through but not organics, dissolved salts or pyrogens. To ‘push’ water through the reverse-osmosis membrane, you must apply pressure greater than the naturally occurring Osmotic Pressure. This will allow pure water to pass through and prevent most contaminants from entering.
Here is a diagram that explains the process of Reverse Oxidation. The concentrated solution is forced through the semipermeable membrane by applying pressure.
Reverse Osmosis uses a high-pressure pump to raise the salt side pressure of the RO. This forces the water through the semi-permeable RO membrane. The reject stream is left with almost no dissolved salts (roughly 95% to 99%) The salt content of the feed water will determine the pressure needed. To overcome the osmotic pressure, you will need to apply more pressure to the more concentrated feed water.
Permeate water is the desalinated water that has been demineralized and deionized. The reject stream is the water stream that contains concentrated contaminants and does not pass through an RO membrane.
The feed water is pressured into the RO membrane. This allows water molecules to pass through the semipermeable membrane. Salts and other contaminants cannot pass through and are ejected through the reject stream. In some cases, the stream can be fed back into the RO system to recycle water. Permeate, or product water, is the water that passes through the RO membrane. It usually contains around 95% to 99 percent of the dissolved salts.
An RO system uses cross filtration, rather than standard filtration in which contaminants are trapped within the media. Cross filtration allows the solution to pass through the filter or cross the filter with two outlets. The filtered water flows one way, while the contaminated water flows the other. Cross flow filtration is used to prevent contamination. It allows water to remove contaminant buildup and allow for enough turbulence so that the membrane surface remains clean.
Reverse Osmosis can remove up to 99+%+ of the dissolved salts, ions, particles, colloids and organics from the feed water. However, an RO system cannot be relied on to remove 100% of bacteria or viruses. An RO membrane rejects contaminants according to their size and charges. A properly functioning RO system will reject any contaminant with a molecular mass greater than 200. (A water molecule, for comparison, has a MW 18). The RO membrane will reject contaminants with a higher ionic charge. A sodium ion, for instance, has one charge (monovalent), and the RO membrane does not reject it. An RO system cannot remove gases like CO2 because they aren’t highly ionized (charged while in solution) and have a low molecular mass. An RO system cannot remove gases so the pH level of the permeate water may be slightly lower than usual depending on the CO2 levels in the water. This is because the CO2 is converted into carbonic acid.
Reverse Osmosis can be used to treat brackish, ground and surface water in large and small flows. Industries that use RO water include food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, metal finishing, semiconductor manufacturing, and boiler feed water.
A few calculations can be used to assess the performance of an RO system, as well as for design considerations. An RO system uses instrumentation to display quality, flow, pressure, and sometimes other data such as temperature or hours of operation. These operation parameters are necessary to accurately measure an RO system’s performance.
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