Seawater desalination uses reverse osmosis membranes
Seawater desalination is a big industry for countries which do not have the luxury of high numbers of gushing springs with drinking water quality. To use seawater as a source of drinking water requires high-tech processes to ensure proper drinking water quality. Seawater desalination uses reverse osmosis membranes – the membrane lifetime and the maintenance costs of a desalination plant are determined by the interaction of seawater components with the membrane surface.
These interactions between seawater and the reverse osmosis membrane are based on adsorption processes occurring at the solid/liquid interface. They play a major role in the technological separation process used to gain drinking water.
Simply put, adsorption is the accumulation of simple or complex ions and molecules or particles on solid surfaces, like a reverse osmosis membrane.
The affinity of the salts contained in seawater to the solid membrane and the rates of adsorption and desorption of these salts determine the applicability and the lifetime of the used material. That’s why the membranes used for desalination have to be checked regularly to ensure always the same quality of the resulting drinking water.
A direct method allowing investigation on real material surfaces to follow the changes in the membrane properties is definitely preferred.
The SurPASS™ 3 electrokinetic analyzer focuses on the chemical analysis of solid surfaces and makes it possible to follow adsorption and desorption rates directly.
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