What is Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis is one of the most effective methods of filtering the tap water in your home. Reverse osmosis technology is designed to remove a great percentage of the contaminants in your drinking water by filtering the water through a semipermeable membrane.
Reverse osmosis filters are one of the main types of water filters trusted by commercial businesses and private homeowners alike. Reverse osmosis filtration systems are among the most popular options because of the large amount of potential contaminants that the process removes. Other types of popular water filters include UV filters, infrared filters, water ionizers, and carbon filters. Many technologies within these types of filters overlap - for example, our 6-stage reverse osmosis water filter contains a carbon filter, and deionizes tap water in a manner similar to that of other filters.
At its most basic, reverse osmosis is a process through which inorganic solids, like salts, are removed from an aqueous solution, like your tap water. The water in your tap is pushed through a semipermeable membrane, which filters out many contaminants and impurities that can find their way into your drinking water.
“Reverse osmosis” can often sound like scientific jargon, so let’s break down that phrase to demystify the actual process. First, we should outline the natural process of osmosis as it occurs in nature.
Osmosis is one of the most important processes to occur in nature every day. Osmosis occurs when weaker saline solutions migrate to stronger saline solutions. Or, put simply, when water with fewer particles or impurities moves naturally to adjacent water with more particles and impurities. An example of this in the real world is when your kidneys absorb water from your bloodstream - the water in your blood moved to the denser area of your kidneys.
Less concentrated solutions will always migrate to more concentrated solutions if possible. A semipermeable membrane allows small particles like water to pass through, so if you separated a solution with low salt content and a solution with high salt content by placing a semipermeable membrane between them, the solution with low salt content would pass through the membrane and fill the solution with high salt content until their densities were equal.
What, exactly, is a semipermeable membrane? The technical definition is a barrier through which some particles can pass through, but others cannot. Some great examples in real life would be a sponge, a fisher’s net, or a screen door. While air can flow through your screen door, a bird certainly could not.
So, then, reverse osmosis is exactly that: reversing the process of osmosis to push solutions with a higher concentration of particles through a semipermeable membrane to remove unwanted particles and contaminants. Because of the way the process works, a particle’s size determines whether or not it will remain in your tap water once it’s pushed through. Some reverse osmosis filters can remove particles that are as small as .001 microns.
How can the process of osmosis be reversed? By applying concentrated energy to the solution (in this case, the tap water being directed into the filter). Reverse osmosis filters like those sold by Pelican Water apply a great deal of energy to your tap water to pass the water through a semipermeable membrane and remove the contaminants within. This process will desalinate the water and block many contaminants from remaining in your water. The process of desalinization (removal of salt) can also be referred to as demineralization or deionization (removing minerals or certain ions from your water).
Multiple processes occur within a reverse osmosis filter that leave you with crisp, refreshing drinking water with most impurities removed in a matter of moments.