Ion exchange is a technology to soften and demineralise water. This technology is well proven, and was developed initially in the 1900s. it is still the best to remove all traces of contaminants.
Ion exchange is an exchange of ions between two electrolytes or between an electrolyte solution and a complex. In most cases the term is used to denote the processes of purification, separation, and decontamination of aqueous and other ion-containing solutions with solid polymeric or mineralic ion exchangers.
Typical ion exchangers are ion exchange resins (functionalized porous or gel polymer), zeolites, montmorillonite, clay, and soil humus. Ion exchangers are either cation exchangers that exchange positively charged ions (cations) or anion exchangers that exchange negatively charged ions (anions). There are also amphoteric exchangers that are able to exchange both cations and anions simultaneously. However, the simultaneous exchange of cations and anions can be more efficiently performed in mixed beds that contain a mixture of anion and cation exchange resins, or passing the treated solution through several different ion exchange materials.
Ion exchanges can be unselective or have binding preferences for certain ions or classes of ions, depending on their chemical structure. This can be dependent on the size of the ions, their charge, or their structure. Typical examples of ions that can bind to ion exchangers are:
• H+ (proton) and OH− (hydroxide)
• Single-charged monatomic ions like Na+, K+, and Cl−
• Double-charged monatomic ions like Ca2+ and Mg2+
• Polyatomic inorganic ions like SO42− and PO43−
• Organic bases, usually molecules containing the amine functional group -NR2H+
• Organic acids, often molecules containing -COO− (carboxylic acid) functional groups
• Biomolecules that can be ionized: amino acids, peptides, proteins, etc.
Along with absorption and adsorption, ion exchange is a form of sorption.
Ion exchange is a reversible process and the ion exchanger can be regenerated or loaded with desirable ions by washing with an excess of these ions.
In addition to water treatment, ion exchange is also used in a variety of industrial and domestic applications. It can for instance:
• Remove colour from cane sugar syrups to make white sugar
• Purify antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals
• Extract uranium from ores
• Separate metals
• Remove harmful substances from solutions
• Be used as an excipient in pharmaceutical formulations
• Catalyse reactions to make anti-knocking agents for petrol
• Produce clear and pure water for the tea or coffee you make at home

By Krunal

Krunal Bhosale is crazy about new gadgets and try them as soon as they are available in market. You can trust him because he uses those products and write reviews about products. He is a Water and Wastewater treatment expert from Pune, India. He received his Chemical Engineering from University of Pune. You can contact him by email krunal (at)

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