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Glossary of Terms - O

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operating pressure - The range of pressure, usually expressed in pounds per square inch, over which a water conditioning device or water system is designed to function.

organic matter - Substances of or derived from plant or animal matter. Organic matter is characterized by its carbon-hydrogen structure.

osmosis - A process of diffusion of a solvent such as water through a semi-permeable membrane which will transmit the solvent but impede most dissolved substances. The normal flow of solvent is from the dilute solution to the concentrated solution in an attempt to bring the solutions on both sides of the membrane to equilibrium. (See equilibrium, reverse osmosis.)

oxidation - A chemical process in which a molecule, atom, or ion loses electrons to an oxidant. The oxidized substance (which lost the electron) increases in positive valence. Whenever oxidation occurs, an offsetting reduction reaction must occur. (See reduction.)

oxidizing agent - A chemical substance that gains electrons (i.e. - is reduced) and brings about the oxidation of other substances in chemical oxidation and reduction (redox) reactions.

ozone - An unstable form of oxygen (O3), which can be generated by an electrical discharge through air or regular oxygen. It is a strong oxidizing agent and has been used in water conditioning as a disinfectant.

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