Looking out for buying a water purifier? I am sure you must have heard about reverse osmosis water units. Read on to find out about the most basic component of these RO systems – the reverse osmosis membrane.A reverse osmosis system is essentially made up of a thin, semi permeable, porous membrane. This reverse osmosis membrane has ultra-fine pores on its surface, the size of which basically determines what all things are going to be filtered.
When water is forced to pass through this membrane, it being smaller in molecular size, passes through the membrane and other contaminants being larger in size are blocked and hence separated out from the water.
This basically makes this membrane the most important part of a RO based unit. Broadly speaking, the reverse osmosis membrane is available in two flavors.Find more info on
– Cellulose Triacetate Membrane (CTA): These membranes are extremely hydrophilic and are ideal for removing antibodies from the water. The problem with these membranes is that they are totally non-protein binding, so they remove proteins also from the water. Moreover, this membrane needs to be disinfected regularly so as to keep bacterial growth in control.
– FTC membranes: These membranes being inorganic in nature are not susceptible to bacterial growth. So they do not need disinfection. But they are more expensive as compared to the CTA ones. The problem with these membranes is that they are prone to be easily damaged by chlorine- a common contaminant in water.
These RO membranes are ultra thin and very sensitive. Thus are vulnerable to damage. But detecting the damaged membrane is a difficult task. If this goes undetected, the microscopic wastes will easily pass through the membrane and hence will not be separated out from the water.
One critical problem with this membrane is that the size of its pore is smaller than that of various naturally occurring minerals. This results into blocking of these minerals and so they are removed from the filtered water. This is known as de-mineralization.
Consuming such de-mineralized water is not recommended. The minerals which are removed by a reverse osmosis membrane are required for the basic functioning of the body. These minerals are calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron etc.
Drinking water is the best source to ensure daily intake of these minerals. Water lacking in these minerals can lead to deficiencies and other health problems.
Multi-stage water purifiers are superior to RO bases units. They are capable of removing all contaminants while retaining the essential minerals at the same time. They are easy to maintain and come in large variety of sizes and colors.