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Separation Process Engineering: Includes Mass Transfer Analysis, Third Edition by Phillip C. Wankat

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17.4 Reverse Osmosis (RO)

Reverse osmosis (RO) is a process commonly used to purify and desalinate water (Reisch, 2007). RO is also an integral part of industrial water management plans to reach zero-liquid discharge goals (Kucera, 2010). The liquid water is forced under pressure through a non-porous membrane in the opposite direction to osmosis (osmosis is defined shortly). Most salts and uncharged molecules are retained by the membrane. Thus, permeate is much purer water and retentate becomes significantly more concentrated. The commonly used membranes shown in Figure 17-3 are: 1) a blend of cellulose acetate and cellulose triacetate, 2) aromatic polyamides (aramids), and 3) cross-linked aromatic polyamides (Eykamp, 1997). Currently, the best ...

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