Reverse Osmosis Water
What is reverse osmosis?
Reverse osmosis (RO) is a physical and chemical process of water purification that uses permeable membranes to remove particles from the liquid. The procedure has multiple applications at industrial and domestic scales.
What are the characteristics of reverse osmosis water?
The water obtained from a reverse osmosis process is of good quality, meaning it has a high level of purity and a very low amount of total dissolved solids.
Reverse osmosis removes up to 99% of dissolved salts (ions), colloids, particles, and bacteria. Despite its high level of purification, it does not completely eliminate viruses and bacteria. RO is also not able to eliminate the gases contained in water effectively (for example, carbon dioxide) since their molecular weight is too low.
The result is called demineralized, distilled, or deionized water since the reverse osmosis process not only removes hazardous and polluting particles but also removes most of the minerals normally contained in water, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, etc.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of reverse osmosis water?
The demineralized water obtained from the reverse osmosis process is useful for many industrial applications, such as:
This is mainly because it reduces the risk of the contamination of mixtures. Another of its industrial advantages is that it reduces calcareous residues in pipes and machinery, like boilers.
However, water demineralization can be counterproductive for human consumption. Although demineralized water is safe for human consumption, long-term consumption of it is discouraged. Water’s mineral content in the appropriate amounts and proportions is beneficial for health and electrolyte balance in the body. This mineral content is lost in reverse osmosis processes. In addition, drinking water that has been demineralized through a reverse osmosis process is also not very pleasant in terms of taste.
Most of the piped water in European countries, as well as in the United States, is potable (suitable for human consumption), so it is not necessary or advisable to subject it to further purification processes. Reverse osmosis can be very useful for places where fresh or potable water availability is very low. Remineralizing drinking water that has been treated with reverse osmosis is recommended.