This treatment uses a material that is normally referred to as ion exchange resins, which are capable of selectively retaining the ions dissolved in the water on its surface. It keeps them bound temporarily to the surface and yields them when dissolved with a strong regenerating agent.
The standard application of these systems is, for example, the elimination of salt when found in low concentrations, the application to demineralize and soften water is typical, as is the retention of certain chemical products and the demineralization of sugar syrups.
The properties that rule the ion exchange process and that simultaneously determine its principle characteristics are the following:
- The resins act selectively, which means that they may prefer one ion over another with relative affinity values of 15 or more.
- The ion exchange reaction can be reversed, i.e. it can advance in both directions.
- Electroneutrality is maintained in the reaction.
There are natural substances that have the capacity of exchange, but synthetic polymer resins are used in industry with very clear advantages of use.
In terms of the advantages of the ion process in the treatment of water, it is worth mentioning that:
- The equipment is very versatile, provided that you are working with relatively low concentrations of salt.
- Resins currently have high capacities of treatment, proving to be compact and economic.
- Resins are chemically very stable, long-lasting and easy to regenerate.
- There is a certain level of ease in the automatization and adaptation to specific situations.