Separating seawater through desalination

Topics: Water, Seawater, Filters Pages: 4 (996 words) Published: November 20, 2004
Chemistry assignment:

The mixture selected in this assignment is seawater obtained from the hydrosphere.

The seawater can be separated through out several processes, both chemically and physically. The separation process is known as desalination. This name is getting more common everyday, as the Australian water demand grows with population we can no longer ignore the salinity problem. Desalination process could take use of the salt concentrated water, turning them into fresh water.

Industrial Separation Procedure:

1. The seawater is inputted through pre-treatment. During the physical separation process of pre-treatment it involves mostly of filtration (physical separation) removing larger solids in seawater.

2. Next, when the water travels through a pipe, its ph rate has been adjusted, if the water is too acidic it can damage the membrane permanently, the cost for recovery is also very high.

3. The filtered seawater now enters a pump, which compresses and puts pressure onto the filtered seawater. The high-pressure pump releases the seawater, sends it towards the RO (Reverse Osmosis) Membrane. (Physical pressure) The procedure is vital to the product freshwater, if the pressure is low, the salt cannot be fully separated from the water by the membrane, so the quality of the water really depends on the pressure applied when entering membrane.

4. The RO Membrane is a semipermeable membrane that separates the salt particles from the water. The membrane also separates ions, large organics, bacteria and even small particles such as sodium, chlorine, calcium and magnesium. In reality usually around 1% of the salt does get through due to leaks or around seals. The water is not completely pure, but it is still drinkable in normal Australian standards. But if it is used for other industrial purposes, distillation of the water might be needed to guarantee security. The membrane removes as high as 99% of bacteria's and 90% of simple inorganic ions....

Bibliography: Water treatment premier: http://www.cee.vt.edu/program_areas/environmetal/teach/wtprimer/desalt/desalt.htm#EFF
Titled: Membrane separation, last updated 2001, may
California coastal commission: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/desalrpt/dchap1.html
Titled: Process description, last updated 1999, April
World Wide Water: http://www.world-wide-water.com/Desal.html
Titled: Desalination, last updated 2003 (month not mentioned)
OAS: www.oas.org/usdepublications/unit/oea59e/cu20.htt
Titled: RO Desalination 2.1, last undated 2003, January
By: Candy Pang CHEMISTRY
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