Reverse Osmosis Corrosion (RO Corrosion)

Last updated: June 7, 2017

What Does Reverse Osmosis Corrosion (RO Corrosion) Mean?

Reverse osmosis (RO) corrosion is a type of corrosion that is encountered with water produced by reverse osmosis.

Water produced by reverse osmosis has a comparatively low pH and has little or no alkalinity. This means that the water lacks its hardness to function like a buffer. Therefore, this type of water can be highly corrosive to the distributing piping of metals.


Corrosionpedia Explains Reverse Osmosis Corrosion (RO Corrosion)

Water that is produced via reverse osmosis tends to be aggressive. This product can affect metallic pipes and other substances that dissolve and ionize in water – not due to its acidity, but because of its high purity and lower levels of dissolved substances. The lower the water’s level of dissolved substances, the more aggressive the water is.

When using reverse osmosis, metal pipings should be avoided in systems like plumbing. Instead, plastic pipings should be used, especially if it comes in contact with water that has a high purity.

Another solution is the utilization of reverse osmosis corrosion inhibitors. Since RO water is corrosive to metals in the water distribution and storage system such as carbon steel, corrosion can have harmful effects very quickly. This can lead to added maintenance and more expenditure over time.

With the use of reverse osmosis corrosion inhibitors, the corrosiveness of water can be altered as well as other problems such as “red water” where iron oxide, a corrosion product, tints the RO-produced water with a red color.


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