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Reverse Osmosis Process

Last updated date: 14th Apr 2024
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What is the Reverse Osmosis Process?

Reverse osmosis refers to the process of separating dissolved solutes from the water. The semipermeable membrane is used for the reverse osmosis process. It is because water molecules can pass from this membrane, but the majority of bacteria, dissolved salts, pyrogens, and organics are not allowable. The reverse osmosis process is widely used in the purification of drinking water due to its property of removing salt and other waste materials.

What do Students Mean by Reverse Osmosis?

The water found in the oceans comprises salt, bacteria, and large particles. It makes water unsuitable for the human to use. However, with reverse osmosis technology, removing all the contaminants from the water makes it fit for use. 

According to reverse osmosis definition class 12, reverse osmosis is a type of filtration technique. The process is useful for the removal of unwanted ions or molecules from a specific solution. The pressure more than the osmotic pressure is practised to the solution present on one side of the intact membrane. It causes the passage of pure solvent through the membrane. 

Principle of Reverse Osmosis Process

The reverse osmosis process includes the application of pressure on one side of the solution. The semipermeable membrane used in the process is placed in between the solutions. Due to the presence of this membrane, large molecules present in the solute cannot pass through it. As a result, unwanted contaminants remain on the pressed side. On the other hand, the pure solvent can cross the membrane. 

Consequently, the molecules of the solute start concentrating on one side of the membrane, and the other hand becomes dilute. During the reverse osmosis process, the solution levels also change to some extent. 

It can be identified from the reverse osmosis definition class 12 that during reverse osmosis, the solvent moves from a lower concentration to a higher one. 

Reverse Osmosis Process - Working

The process of reverse osmosis can be explained by conducting a small experiment. Two solutions are taken, freshwater, and a concentrated aqueous solution. The semipermeable membrane is placed between the two solutions taken, which separate the solutions. The pressure is applied to the end of the membrane, that is, on the concentrated solution. As a result, water molecules will start moving through the membrane. However, contaminants will remain on the aqueous solution side, and water molecules pass to the freshwater side. 

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The diagram outlines the reverse osmosis process. When higher pressure is applied to the concentrated solution, the water molecules start moving through a semipermeable membrane. However, the contaminants are not able to pass through the membrane.

Benefits of Reverse Osmosis

  • In the treatment of liquid wastes and discharge, the process of reverse osmosis is useful.

  • The reverse osmosis process is useful in removing different types of suspended particles from the water. The particles can be chemical, dissolved entities, or any biological units such as bacteria.

  • The semi-permeable membrane blocks viruses, pyrogen, and many other substances. That is why; it is widely used as RO that purifies water by preventing the entry of bacteria.

  • It is beneficial in the process of desalination of seawater.

  • It is extensively used in medical applications like home dialysis. It is because accessible units are not only compact but require less space.

How the Process of Reverse Osmosis is Used in Everyday Applications?

  • Drinking Water: The reverse osmosis process requires a relatively small amount of energy. That is why; it is widely used in the desalting sea for filtered use. 

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The above diagram shows that the reverse osmosis process blocks the passage of large particles and allows water molecules to pass through the membrane.

  • Electronics: According to reverse osmosis definition class 12, the process is useful to remove impurities in the water supply. It encompasses the life of the ion exchange ways. Additionally, the process lowers down the cost of manufacturing huge volumes of high purity water.

  • Chemicals: Generally, the manufacturers of chemicals need different qualities of water. The reverse osmosis process will help in manufacturing suitable water products depending on the nature of the involved production process.

Is There any Disadvantage of the Process of Reverse Osmosis?

The major drawback of the reverse osmosis process includes the reduction of good minerals also. The intact membrane does not allow the passage of large molecules. As a result, contaminants remain in the aqueous solution in which some good minerals are present. Hence, people drinking water purified by reverse osmosis can suffer from general weakness, muscle cramps, and tiredness.

FAQs on Reverse Osmosis Process

1. Is Reverse Osmosis Water Good or Bad? Give Reason.

Reverse Osmosis water can either be good or bad depending upon the system we use. Water treated with reverse osmosis removes all the essential components like iron, magnesium, calcium, and fluoride. Fluoride presence is even more important for the kids to get rid of cavity problems. Thus if your reverse osmosis system removes all these required components from water, it makes water unfit for drinking. Better you choose the system accordingly as minerals always do not define that they are contaminants. They are also beneficial for the body.

2. What is not Removed with the Reverse Osmosis Process?

Usually, we use reverse osmosis to filter out contaminants from water, which are not good for human health like lead, dissolved salts, mercury, iron, and calcium. Thus it removes all turbidity of microbes and the dissolved compounds. However, the process fails to remove harmful pesticides and other volatile components and chemicals. These chemicals include Chlorine and Radon. Also, other contaminants that cannot be removed by reverse osmosis are herbicides, agricultural treatment chemicals like fungicides.