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Reverse Osmosis Process with the development of membranes that could be used to desalt water

By Jamesarmstrong2011 Subscribe to RSS | July 19th 2012 | Views:
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Reverse osmosis is a process whereby a pump is used to pressure water through a membrane, and away from a more concentrated solution. Osmosis is the natural force that draws a dilute solution towards a more concentrated one. For the reverse osmosis process to be effective, a pump must apply sufficient pressure to significantly overcome the osmotic pressure present.

The reverse osmosis process, as we know it today, was created in the 1960’s with the development of membranes that could be used to desalt water. The U.S. government funded research efforts in the field with the goal of equipping its military with a means of converting ocean water around the world into potable water. Early membranes were not suited for withstanding the applied pressures required to overcome the osmotic pressure of typical seawater of 32,000 ppm NaCl. The early membranes could be used to desalt most well and tap water, however, and the process began to rival the previously available deionization processes.

By the 1980’s, seawater reverse osmosis membranes and systems were available commercially. While the reverse osmosis process is considerably less costly than most other desalination methods, much of today’s optimization efforts have been in the area of using less energy in the process. Today’s membrane elements, for example, are able to produce as much product at 650 psi applied as earlier membranes that required 800 psi to accomplish similar. While one might assume that seawater desalination is the main application for reverse osmosis that application represents less than 25% of all reverse osmosis systems produced.

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Reverse Osmosis Systems
Reverse Osmosis

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