Even if you get your water from the city, it might not be clean. As water passes through our pipes and drains, it picks up metals and other contaminants along the way. It picks up even more contaminants if it comes from a well or a spring of some kind-it has contact with the ground there, which means more trace metals and bacteria seep into it.
If you want to keep your family members or your employees safe from these contaminants, you need to filter the water in your home or place of business. Nearly every building needs some kind of filter on it, even if you only need to filter out chlorine. One of the most advanced ways to filter your water is through reverse osmosis.
The Basics of Reverse Osmosis
This very clever filtering technology removes nearly every contaminant from your water, including
Reverse osmosis can remove smaller contaminants than most other filtration systems, allowing you, your family members, and your employees to enjoy completely purified water. You won’t have to worry about any of the dangers of contaminated water.
However, reverse osmosis does remove iron and manganese particles, which actually have important functions inside your body. Iron helps you build healthy blood cells and regulates your metabolism. Manganese helps you build strong bones. But luckily you should get enough of these minerals from your diet that you don’t have to worry about filtering them out of your water.
The Chemistry of Reverse Osmosis
In high school, you learned that cells get their nutrients through a chemical process called osmosis. During regular osmosis, particles move through a selectively permeable membrane, which chemically allows only certain kinds of particles to pass through it.
Normally, particles keep passing through the membrane until the particles have an equal concentration on the inside and outside of the membrane. However, with reverse osmosis, the particles do the opposite. The particles still pass through a selectively permeable membrane (a synthetic one), but they don’t equalize. High water pressure forces the particles to all move in one direction, purifying the water on one side of the membrane.
If you have a reverse osmosis filter, you will have to clean out the “rejected” water side with all of the contaminants every once in a while. If you don’t, scale will built up on the membrane and stop it from working.
The Applications of Reverse Osmosis
We can use this clever technology for a number of different applications across many industries. Common applications include the following:
1. Drinking Water
Homes, restaurants, businesses, schools, and government entities use reverse osmosis to clean the water in their buildings. This process creates extremely clean water-as mentioned above, it doesn’t just remove harmful contaminants. It removes anything that could cause serious health problems in large doses.
Reverse osmosis ensures that anyone who lives or works in these areas doesn’t get sick because of the water. It also gives these entities a combination filter and water softener-it removes calcium and magnesium, which cause the spots on dishes and the buildup around faucets. Since the filter keeps so many contaminants out of the home, it extends the life of the plumbing, saving building owners a lot of money in the long run.
2. Food Industry
Have you ever wondered how companies produce concentrated foods? Many of them do it by using reverse osmosis. They use it to make juice concentrate, powdered proteins and milks, and even wine. Many companies also use reverse osmosis to purify the water that cleans their foods.
In the 1960s, experts figured out how to purify salt water using reverse osmosis. The technology didn’t give cities or companies a convenient or efficient way to purify water at first, but scientific advances have allowed experts to create selectively permeable materials that quickly remove the salt and other contaminants from saltwater.
Today, there are several desalinization plants all over the world that use seawater to hydrate their citizens instead of freshwater.
4. Laboratory and Medical Applications
In laboratories, chemists and other scientists have to use pure water in their experiments. Any contaminants could change the reaction, leading to incorrect results and potentially serious consequences down the line-especially if those chemist work in the medical industry. Reverse osmosis gives labs the ability to work with clean water.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities also need clean water to prevent secondary infection and other potential problems in their patients. Reverse osmosis removes all harmful contaminants, allowing the staff to hydrate patients, wash hands, wash tools, and perform other activities safely.
Want to experience this technology in your own home or place of business? Contact a plumbing or water conditioning expert in your area! You’ll benefit from clean, delicious water in no time. Call an expert today!