Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Special Workings of RO Membranes

Among the components of a reverse osmosis (RO) system, the membrane is regarded as the most crucial part. The RO membrane works alongside high pressure pumps so as to purify water. If the membrane is not up to par, solid particles will not be filtered out adequately.

An RO membrane is semi-permeable, meaning it allows certain particles to pass through while it keeps out others. Think of a screen door. It allows air to go through but not anything that is larger than the screen’s holes. Membranes used in RO systems work the same way but on a microscopic level. The pressure applied to the water forces it through the membrane and the water molecules pass through while solids, such as salts and other dissolved minerals, remain on the other side of the membrane. This has been effectively used to remove salt from ocean water or even to purify wastewater.

In a strict sense, however, there is a difference between how screen doors and RO membranes work. Big filters like screen doors exclude objects or pests through the size of its holes. On the other hand, the microscopic action of the membranes uses ionic diffusion to perform the separation. Through this, RO membranes are able to separate suspended solids, microorganisms, and ions from the water.

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