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Physical Water Conditioner Technologies Explained

Physical water conditioners are devices intended to prevent the build-up of hard limescale in a physical (i.e. non-chemical manner) manner. This is done by influencing the ions in the water so that when the saturation point of the water is altered (e.g. by heating) the calcium carbonate (or other minerals) precipitates as small crystals in suspension in the water, rather than as a solid mass bonded to surfaces.

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Why are water softeners being banned?

Hard water is water that is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium and silica. These minerals can cause serious problems for heat-exchange surfaces, pipes and water fixtures throughout your home and business. Over time, pipes could become completely clogged by scale buildup. When limescale builds up on a heating element, it insulates it and prevents it from doing its job efficiently.

Minerals such as calcium and magnesium, both have a positive charge. Sodium, the mineral that water softeners use to replace hardness ions, also has a positive charge, so none of these ions are attracted to each other. However, sodium's charge is weaker than that of calcium and magnesium. If ions aren't attracted to each other, how can an exchange take place? There is one other crucial element needed to make the process work: a resin bed consisting of lots of tiny, negatively charged beads.

The salt added to a water softener clings to these beads since opposites attract. Then, when the calcium and magnesium-rich water flows through the water softener, the negatively charged resin attracts the positively charged ions of calcium and magnesium. Since these ions have a stronger positive charge than sodium ions, the sodium ions get displaced and are exchanged for the naturally occurring calcium and magnesium.

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The Effect of Hydropath Technology on Silicates

This is a brief description of the effect that HydroFLOW devices have on Silicates, in particular, the difference between this and its effect on calcium carbonate.

Prevention of New Scale
Scaling in pipes can be due to a range of different compounds. One of the most common of these is Calcium Carbonate (Limescale) but there is a range of others. One such family is the Silicates, (compounds containing silicon rather than carbon). In both cases, the minerals are in a dissolved form in the water as positively and negatively charged ions.

Hydropath technology acts to create clusters of ions. These clusters are groups of dissolved ions that are still in solution but nevertheless have some structure and act as precursors to crystals. This means that when the water becomes supersaturated, the clusters act as “starting points,” and the crystals form in suspension in the water, rather than as hard “scale” on the surface of pipes and equipment.

This process is based on the ionic nature of the crystals, and therefore this effect applies to any scale formed from ionic compounds, including Carbonate Scaling and Silicate Scaling.

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Struvite Control at Wastewater Treatment Plants

Anaerobic wastewater treatment plants often encounter nutrient-related problems. A common pain point for anaerobic wastewater treatment plants is the formation of struvite, also known as MAP (magnesium ammonium phosphate hexahydrate). Struvite is a phosphate material (NH4MgPO4·6H2O) and is likely to form in an environment, where there is higher conductivity, lower temperatures, high pH, and higher concentrations of magnesium, ammonia, and phosphate, all of which can be found during the anaerobic digestion of sludge.
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Secondary Disinfection that can Reduce Bacterial Contamination and Chemical Consumption in Pools

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E. coli bacteria, normally found in the human gut and feces, are present in alarming quantities in a majority of pools. The bacteria find their way into pools when people do not take showers before swimming or have "accidents” in the water. It is more likely to find fecal contamination in municipal pools. HydroFLOW water conditioners are one method of secondary disinfection that can reduce bacterial contamination and chemical consumption in pools.
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Water Conditioner vs. Water Softener

Water conditioning aims to address three major issues that are present in most water sources: limescale, bacteria, and algae. These problems can cause a whole host of issues in water systems, including on the insides of pipes, on heat exchangers, on fixtures and more.

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