Types ion exchange resins
Strong acid resins are so named because their chemical behavior is similar to that of a strong acid. The resins are highly ionized in both the acid (R-SO3H) and salt (R-SO3Na) form of the sulfonic acid group. They can convert a metal salt to the corresponding acid by the reaction:
The hydrogen and sodium forms of strong acid resins are highly dissociated and the exchangeable Na+ and H+ are readily available for exchange over the entire pH range. Consequently, the exchange capacity of strong acid resins is independent of solution pH.
These resins would be used in the hydrogen form for complete deionization; they are used in the sodium form for water softening (calcium and magnesium removal). After exhaustion, the resin is converted back to the hydrogen form (regenerated) by contact with a strong acid solution, or the resin can be convened to the sodium form with a sodium chloride solution. For the above reaction, hydrochloric acid (HCl) regeneration would result in a concentrated nickel chloride (NiCl) solution.
In a weak acid resin the ionizable group is a carboxylic acid (COOH) as opposed to the sulfonic acid group (SO3H) used in strong acid resins. These resins behave similarly to weak organic acids that are weakly dissociated.
The degree of dissociation of a weak acid resin is strongly influenced by the solution pH. Consequently, resin capacity depends in part on solution pH. A typical weak acid resin has limited capacity below a pH of 6.0, making it unsuitable for deionizing acidic metal finishing wastewater.
Like strong acid resins, strong base resins are highly ionized and can be used over the entire pH range. These resins are used in the hydroxide (OH) form for water deionization. They will react with anions in solution and can convert an acid solution to pure water:
Regeneration with concentrated sodium hydroxide (NaOH) converts the exhausted resin to the hydroxide form.
Weak base resins are like weak acid resins in that the degree of ionization is strongly influenced by pH. Consequently, weak base resins exhibit minimum exchange capacity above a pH of 7.0. The weak base resin does not have a hydroxide ion form as does the strong base resin. These resins merely sorb strong acids, they cannot split salts.
Consequently regeneration needs only to neutralize the absorbed acid, it need not provide hydroxide ions. Less expensive weakly basic reagents such as ammonia (NH3) or sodium carbonate can be employed.
Lanlang has over 15 years’ experience in ion exchange resin technologies to help lower costs and waste volumes while increasing product quality. For more information or to get in touch, contact us to set up a consultation with an engineer or request a quote.