Reverse osmosis filters are systems that are used to purify and improve the quality of drinking water, as well as being used in many health care applications—such as dialysis—as well.
The reverse osmosis filter works by applying pressure to one side of a solution while pushing the pure solvent through to the other side through a protective membrane. This filters out the larger ions and particles—unwanted substances such as heavy metals and salt (reverse osmosis filters are often used to purify salt water) while purifying the remaining water for everyday use such as drinking and washing clothes or the body.
Reverse osmosis works differently than simple filtration. Filtration works primarily by simply straining out the larger unwanted particles and is not dependent on water pressure or microscopic concentration within the fluid. In contrast, reverse osmosis filtering works by diffusing the solution, so it is more dependent on the solution pressure, concentration, and the rate of solution flux. Basically, reverse osmosis filtration works by relying on the principle of osmosis: fluids moving through membranes in order to reach a state of equilibrium. In reverse osmosis, the process is shifted by applying pressure and forcing a high concentration solute through a membrane to reduce it to a low concentration solute, the opposite of osmosis that seeks simple equilibrium. Therefore, the concentration separation must be more active than simple reliance on the natural process of osmosis. In order to actively separate high to low concentration, the solution must pass through a tough, heavy membrane at high pressure, thereby forcing the solution to literally break down into its purest form—again, most often, drinking water.
Reverse osmosis filters are used in many different ways. The most common application is installing a reverse osmosis filter in your home in order to purify drinking water. This is particularly useful in rural areas where water is not subject to a municipal environment’s built-in filtering systems. Reverse osmosis systems can be purchased at a variety of home building stores and are certainly available on the Internet. The system will fit under the sink without problem and can be easily installed by the home owner, as the system will come with explicit instructions and trouble-shooting tips to ensure it is safely and properly installed. Choosing to purify your water through a reverse osmosis system will also eventually save a good deal of money, as there will no longer be the need to purchase purified bottled water.
Other applications for reverse osmosis filters are also used in urban areas to purify both waste-water and rainwater. This process is usually done in power plants and is performed by boiling water and using pressure to force purification at a very large scale and then distribute the purified water back to the residents of the cities. Finally, reverse osmosis filters have the health care applications mentioned above, particularly in the process of dialysis, where the blood is purified of harmful toxins such as urea through reverse osmosis and then forced back into the body where it can effectively nourish the body minus the damaging bodily waste-products.
Using a reverse osmosis system is one of the easiest and surest ways to ensure that you are consuming purified water. The systems also assist in numerous other ways, as mentioned above. And considering the benefits of using water and other substances that have been purified through the process of reverse osmosis, the cost of using such systems is very well justified.