What Is Reverse Osmosis? – Definition & Working of Reverse Osmosis

What Is Reverse Osmosis? – Definition & Working of Reverse Osmosis

Let us consider the experimental setup (Figure 9.15) discussed in the osmosis. The pure water moves through the semipermeable membrane to the NaCl solution due to osmosis. This process can be reversed by applying pressure greater than the osmotic pressure to the solution side.

Now the pure water moves from the solution side to the solvent side and this process is called reverse osmosis. It can be defined as a process in which a solvent passes through a semipermeable membrane in the opposite direction of osmosis when subjected to a hydrostatic pressure greater than the osmotic pressure.

Reverse Osmosis (RO)

Application of Reverse osmosis in water purification:

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Reverse osmosis is used in the desalination of sea water and also in the purification of drinking water. A simple set up used in both the process is shown in the figure 9.15. When a pressure higher than the osmotic pressure is applied on the solution side (sea water) the water molecules moves from solution side to the solvent side through semipermeable membrane (Opposite to the Osmotic flow). Pure water can be collected.

There are different types of semipermeable membranes used in this process. The membrane used for reverse osmosis has
to withstand high pressures. Generally, cellulose acetate or polyamide membranes are commonly used in commercial systems. The selection of membrane used for reverse osmosis will be decided based on the nature of the input water.

Reverse Osmosis (RO)

Example Problem 6:

At 400K 1.5 g of an unknown substance is dissolved in a solvent and the solution is made to 1.5 L. Its osmotic pressure is found to be 0.3 bar. Calculate the molar mass of the unknown substance.

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