How Reverse Osmosis Makes Seawater Drinkable And Mcdonald’s Coke Taste The Best

Water filtration technology has improved a great deal over the years and now gives you access to more pure and better tasting water. Reverse osmosis water filtration is used worldwide to desalinate seawater and is also used at a business level to make a great-tasting Coke. Here are two examples of how reverse osmosis is used in these different ways.

Seawater into Drinking Water

While much of the world's population gets their drinking water from the ground, rivers, and streams, there are some hot and dry areas in the world with not a lot of access to fresh drinking water. With seawater available in most of these areas, scientists wanted a way to make it drinkable. So in the 1950s scientists began studying the process of using pressure to filter water through a thin plastic of semipermeable membrane with reverse osmosis.

By 1965 UCLA scientists had perfected the technology to desalinate large amounts of ocean water into clean drinking water. The scientists at UCLA who perfected this water filtration process created their own semipermeable membrane made from cellular acetate, which is a polymer used in photograph film. This membrane allowed the water to filter through at a faster rate, making the process more efficient.

Now there are more than 13,000 desalination plants in the world with over 100 countries using this technology to pull drinking water from the oceans. During the filtering process, seawater is pumped into the reverse osmosis filter chamber and pressure is exerted onto the water. This forces the water through the tiny holes in the semipermeable membrane. Because water molecules are smaller than salt molecules, the salt molecules can't fit through the holes in the membrane and remain trapped in the filter chamber. Only the clean, non-polluted water molecules come through the membrane filter.

Great-Tasting Coca-Cola

As all the impurities in water are removed by the reverse osmosis filter process to make drinking water, the same process is applied to improve the taste of Coca-Cola. If you have ever thought the Coca-Cola soft drink served at McDonald's restaurants tastes much better than Coca-Cola from any other source, you are correct. McDonald's controls the quality of their water and the freshness of their syrup to make their Coke test the best.

Water makes up 85 percent of a fountain drink, so it provides a big part of the soft drink's taste. And McDonald's has invested a great deal of money for each of their restaurants to have their own high-quality reverse osmosis water filter. With McDonald's being able to produce the purest water, all their drinks, including coffee, taste much better. 

The temperature of the water also makes a difference in Coke's taste. Cold water holds carbonation better, and this gives McDonald's Coke its cold crispness. The soda water runs from the filter to the dispensers through insulated tubing to keep it at a temperature between 33 and 38 degrees F. And McDonald's provides you a drinking straw that is slightly wider than normal straws so you get a fuller taste of the beverage when you drink it.

McDonald's sells a large amount of Coca-Cola, so they order and get the syrup delivered from trucks in bulk and keep it stored in a large stainless steel pressure tank. This process ensures they always use fresh Coke syrup. The syrup is also chilled along with the filtered water as it is dispensed which helps to keep the Coke at an average temperature of 36 degrees F. The ratio of syrup to carbonated water is set at a specific ratio and is calibrated daily to allow the ice in your Coke to melt properly.

This is how reverse osmosis water filtering is used in these two important systems in our world. Visit a site like to learn more about water filtration systems and their uses in industrial settings.