Cations (positively charged compounds) are removed with cation ion exchange water purifiction resins, while anions (negatively charged compounds) are removed with anion exchange resins.
For example, the cation exchange resin will prefer certain cations over others, based off the ion size as well as whether it has a single positive charge (monovalent) or double positive charge (divalent). More selective species will displace the existing ions that are on the resin and send them into the effluent.
Adsorption of cations
High-valent ions are usually preferentially adsorbed, while low-valent ions are weakly adsorbed. The order in which some cations are adsorbed is as follows:
Fe3+ > Al3+ > Pb2+ > Ca2+ > Mg2+ > K+ > Na+ > H+
Adsorption of anions
The general order of adsorption of inorganic acid radicals by strongly basic anion resins is:
SO42-> NO3- > Cl- > HCO3- > OH-
These ion exchange water purifiction resins are composed of insoluble polymer beads designed with a "functional group" that attracts ions of the opposite charge. Each bed has many functional sites that exist all over the bead, from the surface to deep inside.
Ion exchange water purifiction resins are manufactured with many different functional groups tailored to remove a vast array of contaminants and compounds. Resin bead characteristics such as number of functional groups, moisture content, and porosity can help to determine the best ion exchange resin for water purification.
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