What Is Water Demineralization?

What Is Water Demineralization?

December 11, 2019

Demineralization is something many industries rely on as part of their water purification process. A type of purification, demineralization is more specifically characterized by ion exchange, often also called deionization. It’s a relatively simple process that yields big results—especially for applications that demand the cleanest water, free of unwanted atomic elements.

Deionization isn’t possible without the right equipment, which is why most commercial and industrial water treatment applications have a strong relationship with a demineralizer supplier—someone who can provide them with filtration equipment and other ion exchange materials.

What’s removed?

During water demineralization, all types of atomic elements are removed through ion exchange. Most commonly, it comes down to the following:

  • Cations, like calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium and more.
  • Anions, like chloride, nitrate, sulfates, silica and general alkalinity.

Cations and anions are positively and negatively charged ions. During the ion exchange process, filter media is used to attract these charged ions and remove them from the water. Once removed, the water is considered deionized—or, if re-condensed, it’s called “distilled water.”

What is demineralized water used for?

Deionized water may look exactly like regular clean tap water, but it’s far from it. In fact, demineralized water is completely neutral (pH of 7), making it an important element in many specific applications. A simple, everyday example would be car batteries—it’s why you might add distilled water to a battery that’s having trouble starting.

In a more industrial capacity, demineralized water is generally used for cooling applications, like boilers, radiators and cooling towers. Because it’s free of atomic elements, there’s nothing to react with cooling systems. The result? No rust, corrosion or other buildups that might otherwise cause them to fail.

Finally, pharmaceutical and electronics manufacturing rely heavily on demineralized water. They require a cleaning medium that’s totally free of anything that might interact with sensitive materials.

Industrial scale demineralization

Most often, demineralization is done at an industrial scale, since most major applications for deionized water are industrial. To accomplish deionization at a large scale, most systems use a mixed bed membrane system. Essentially, this is a system that forces water through various membranes to remove cations and anions. It’s effective in demineralizing large quantities of water and is capable of producing as close to neutral pH as possible.

Beyond mixed bed demineralization systems, there are also two- and three-tank systems. “Strong acid cation/strong base anion resin systems” and “strong acid cation + weak base anion + strong base anion resin systems” are useful for deionizing water with specific cation or anion quantities.

The goal of demineralization

As with all forms of water purification, the goal of demineralization is to completely remove all unwanted bodies from the water, to return it to as pure of a state as possible. In the case of demineralization, the focus is on cations and anions, representing various unwanted elements. It’s essential for many industrial companies, and one that’s vital and essential to the purity of the final product or process.

To learn more or work with an experienced demineralizer supplier, reach out to M.L. Ball Company, Inc. today.

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