What is Reverse Osmosis?

How does Reverse Osmosis Work?
counter top reverse osmosisIn order to better understand the term Reverse Osmosis or RO, let’s start out by defining Osmosis.
Osmosis is produced by nature and membrane technology by the passing of one solvent with low concentration through a semi-permeable membrane into a solvent of higher concentrate in attempt to balance or dilute the more concentrated side.

There are different types of membranes.  Some are impermeable which means nothing will pass through them.  Take Saran Wrap for example.  This is an impermeable membrane, nothing can get through it.  The other type of membrane is semi permeable which means some atoms or molecules will pass through it.  One of the best examples of semi permeable membranes are in our own body, the lining of your intestines or cell walls.

Osmosis occurs when a semi permeable membrane is placed between two levels of liquids that have different concentrates.  The liquid with the lower concentrate will seek out the higher concentrate in an attempt to equalize them.  This phenomenon frequently occurs naturally in animal life and vegetation.  This is why drinking salt water can literally kill you.

Drinking salt water at a high concentrate will cause your stomach wall to draw water through its membrane walls from your body in attempt to equalize or dilute the concentrate.  This could result in severe dehydration and ultimately death.

In RO, pressure is exerted on the concentrated side to force the water molecules through the membrane to the pure water side.  This is the opposite of Osmosis, thus the term Reverse Osmosis.  In water purification, RO is commonly used in residential and commercial applications.

Private boats all the way up to large ships use RO for desalination of sea water as well.  Reverse Osmosis can also be used to purify other liquids with undesirable purity.

For more information on Reverse Osmosis, feel free to give us a call at 760-734-5955.