Water Purification: Methods, Advantages, and Disadvantages
Water is essential to human beings and all life on Earth. About 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, most of which is in the form of oceans and seas. While we can drink fresh water from rivers and lakes, most of the world’s population relies on water that has been purified for domestic and industrial use.
2. Types of water
There are two main types of water: potable (drinkable) and wastewater (used water). Potable water comes from groundwater (e.g., springs and wells), surface water (e.g., rivers and lakes), or public water supplies. Wastewater comes from homes, businesses, and industry, and includes sewage and stormwater runoff.
3. The water purification process
Water purification is the process of removing impurities from water. The goal of water purification is to make water safe to drink or use for domestic or industrial purposes. There are a variety of methods that can be used to purify water, including distillation, ion exchange, carbon adsorption, micro-porous membrane filtration, ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, and electro-deionization.
Distillation is a process that uses heat to evaporate water and then condense the vapor into a clean container. This process can remove dissolved minerals, bacteria, viruses, and other impurities from water. Distillation is commonly used to purify seawater and brackish (slightly salty) water.
3.2 Ion exchange
Ion exchange is a process that removes dissolved minerals from water using an ion-exchange resin. This resin contains positively charged ions that attract and bind to negatively charged ions in the water (such as chloride ions). The ion-exchange resin then exchanges its ions for the ions in the water, leaving behind clean water. Ion exchange is often used to remove hardness minerals (such as calcium and magnesium) from water.
3.3 Carbon adsorption
Carbon adsorption is a process that removes dissolved organic matter from water using activated carbon. Activated carbon is a type of carbon that has been treated to make it extremely porous. This porosity allows it to have a large surface area, which makes it very effective at adsorbing (binding) dissolved organic matter from water. Carbon adsorption is often used to remove taste and odor compounds from drinking water.
3.4 Micro-porous membrane filtration
Micro-porous membrane filtration is a process that removes bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens from water using a filter with pores that are smaller than the pathogens themselves. This type of filtration is often used in residential drinking water systems and commercial/industrial applications where pathogen-free water is required.
Ultra-filtration is a process that removes dissolved molecules (including viruses and bacteria) from water using a filter with pores that are smaller than the molecules themselves. This type of filtration is often used in drinking water systems and commercial/industrial applications where pathogen-free water is required.
3.6 Reverse osmosis
Reverse osmosis is a process that removes dissolved molecules from water using a semi-permeable membrane. This membrane allows water to pass through, but blocks the passage of dissolved molecules (such as salt). Reverse osmosis is often used to desalinate (remove salt from) seawater and brackish water.
Electro-deionization is a process that removes dissolved minerals from water using an ion-exchange resin and an electric field. This process exchanges the ions in the water (such as sodium ions) for ions that are bound to the resin (such as chloride ions). The electric field then removes the chloride ions from the resin, leaving behind clean water. Electro-deionization is often used to remove hardness minerals (such as calcium and magnesium) from water.
Water purification is a vital process that removes impurities from water. There are a variety of methods that can be used to purify water, including distillation, ion exchange, carbon adsorption, micro-porous membrane filtration, ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, and electro-deionization. Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the best method to use will depend on the specific water purification needs.
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