Silt density index

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The silt density index is a measure for the fouling capacity of water in reverse osmosis systems. The test measures the rate at which a 0.45-micrometre filter is plugged when subjected to a constant water pressure of 206.8 kPa (30 psi). The SDI gives the percent drop per minute in the flow rate of the water through the filter, averaged over a period of time such as 15 minutes.[citation needed][1]

Typically, spiral-wound reverse osmosis systems will need an SDI less than 5, and hollow fiber reverse osmosis systems will need an SDI less than 3. In these kinds of systems, deep-well waters (with a typical SDI of 3) could be used straight from the source. If fed from surface waters (with a typical SDI greater than 6), the water will need to be filtered before use.[citation needed] Seawater desalination plants utilising reverse osmosis systems also need very efficient filtering due to the typically high but variable SDI of seawater.[2]

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