Water Softening

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water softening

[′wȯd·ər ‚sȯf·ə·niŋ]
Removal of scale-forming calcium and magnesium ions from hard water, or replacing them by the more soluble sodium ions; can be done by chemicals or ion exchange.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Water Softening


the reduction, to specified limits, of the hardness of natural water by the removal of calcium and magnesium salts from the water. In water purification, precipitation and cation-exchange methods are the primary means of water softening. A thermal method is also used in which the water is heated to a temperature above 100°C in order to remove completely the salts that cause carbonate hardness. (See alsoWATER TREATMENT.)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Water softening

The process of removing divalent cations, usually calcium or magnesium, from water. When a sample of water contains more than 120 mg of these ions per liter (0.016 oz/gal), expressed in terms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), it is generally classified as a hard water. Hard waters are frequently unsuitable for many industrial and domestic purposes because of their soap-destroying power and tendency to form scale in equipment such as boilers, pipelines, and engine jackets. Therefore it is necessary to treat the water either to remove or to alter the constituents for it to be fit for the proposed use.

The principal water-softening processes are precipitation, cation exchange, electrical methods, or combinations of these. The factors to be considered in the choice of a softening process include the raw-water quality, the end use of softened water, the cost of softening chemicals, and the ways and costs of disposing of waste streams. See Water treatment

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Engineering. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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