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Reverse Osmosis History

Updated: Jul 31, 2018



“Water is the driving force of all nature.” - Leanardo Da Vinci

In 1953, Loeb and Sorirajan first prepared a high water flux (Water Flux, WF) and a high salt rejection (Salt Rejection, SR) cellulose acetate reverse osmosis membrane, thus laying the basis of reverse osmosis technology, which led to the rapid development of other membrane programs.


In the mid-fifties, a scientist, Dr. S. Sourirajan, at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) invented the "artificial imitation of biological selective membrane". This was the first time humans could use the principle of reverse osmosis. The US federal government invested in the region of 4 billion dollars in the successful research of the use of the principles of reverse osmosis on sewage pressure, so that only pure water molecules, and not harmful substances emissions, could penetrate the membrane to produce pure water.

The first time NASA used the process was on the space shuttle, where they were able to reclaim the astronauts’ urine and sewage and then purify it for drinking. It is also used on aircraft carriers and in submarines, and for desalination for soldiers to drink, as well as being used to provide drinking water for ordinary families in the United States. This breakthrough in human drinking water and sales around the world prove its reliability.

The first batches of reverse osmosis membranes were used in the 1950s, primarily in the desalination industry, but the cost of distillation was high. Their performance and potential was immediately discovered by the US Department of NASA and their development was funded to solve the problem of spacecraft drinking water.

Reverse Osmosis System

From the 1970s, the low-pressure osmotic membrane started to appear and the first batch of small household reverse osmosis drinking water purifiers also began production. These were able to purify about one to five liters of drinking water per day, and were able to effectively solve the US central and southern desert areas problems caused by nuclear radiation pollution of the water.

Today, home reverse osmosis equipment is able to provide 285 liters (about 75 gallons) of drinking water a day, enough to meet the drinking and cooking needs of a small family or office. In addition the change in water pressure from the first generation’s high pressure down to the present 50 pounds per square inch of fifty pounds of water pressure (50PSI) makes it suitable for general use and for tap water pressure.


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