Reverse Osmosis

What is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis removes impurities from feed water to produce potable water. Through applying pressure, the method overcomes osmotic pressure to separate undesirable ions and other molecules, even bacteria from water. The external pressure reverses the flow of water. After the feed water flows through a series of cylinder-shaped pressurized vessels, purified water is separated from the rest of the unwanted solution.

Why is it important?

Reverse osmosis is crucial to places where there is limited or no surface water nor groundwater available. For seawater is one of the common sources of water in such places, desalination is the major way to produce drinking water. Since reverse osmosis can thoroughly remove impurities from large quantities of water, reverse osmosis is commonly the preferred method for desalination.

Activity Overview

The purpose of this activity is to provide students with an understanding of reverse osmosis. Through finishing the activity sheet, students will be able to learn about the difference between reverse osmosis and regular osmosis.

  • Duration: 20 min

  • Materials: worksheet

Class Materials

Below are links to download:

Reverse Osmosis Info Sheet

Reverse Osmosis Activity Sheet

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Dawon Chung 

Yoon Seo Kim

Se Yoon Park