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Process of De Mineralization Plant

By Moinul Haque
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Definition of DM Plant:

De mineralization is a process of removing undesirable

minerals and converting raw water to Soft water and make
suitable for Industrial purposes, which can be done by the
addition of Slaked, or Hydrated, Lime or by an ion-exchange
process using zeolite as a water softener.
In this topic we will discuss about Ion-Exchange Process.
How Ion Exchange Works

Ions are atoms, small particles that are the building blocks for
molecules. Ions have a weak electrical charge. The charge
may be positive (for cations) or negative (for anions). This
positive and negative charge is similar to the north or South
Pole of a magnet or the positive or negative terminal of a car
battery. Positively charged sodium ions are commonly used to
coat cation exchange resins. Negatively charged chloride or
hydroxide ions are commonly used to coat anion exchange
resins. Mixed bed resins combine both positive and negative
ions. Ion exchange units actually exchange ions from the
resins with those in the water. When water to be treated
passes through the ion exchange unit, ions in the water are
attracted by either a positive or a negative charge to the ions
in the resin bed. Since the ions from the water are usually
held more tightly by the resins than they were held in the
water, they are, in effect, removed from the water in the
exchange process.
Dematerialized process carried out in several stages .Raw water
passes through the following unit
1. Multi Grade Filter
2. Activated Carbon Filter
3. Cation Exchange Unit
4. Anion Exchange Unit
5. Mixed Bed Unit
Multi Grade Filter (MGF):

Water contains three major impurities Physical, Biological,

Chemical. Physical impurities troubles in various industrial,
commercial and domestic applications hence for better quality
physical impurities required to reduce up to application
Physical impurity is decreased by filtration, various kind of
filtration system available for different application with
different sharpness of removal in macro to micron.
The MGF works on principle of retention and removal of
physical impurity in a graded manner through Voids of the
filtering media.
This is a Stainless Steel inside Rubber Lining (SSRL) pressure
vessel, with internal distribution & collection systems. The
frontal and inter connecting pipes and requisite ITALIC valves
of BRASS construction along with one lot of sand, silex &
pebbles. The necessary instruments like inlet / outlet,
pressure gauges are provided with the system.
The physical impurities of raw water i.e. suspended solids,
dirt, dust, & all visible particles are removed in M FILTER up to
50 micron.

The system reduces the physical impurity load to less then 2
ppm the system can take load of 20 ppm -25 ppm of
suspended solutions.
Product Description:
Multigrade filter is a depth filter that makes use of coarse and
fine media mixed together in a fixed proportion. This
arrangement produces a filter bed with adequate pore
dimensions for retaining both large and small suspended
particles. This filter performs at a substantially higher specific
flow rate than conventional filters. Specific flow rates of 15 30
m/h have been successfully obtained for treating waters
containing 25 50 ppm suspended solids respectively to
produce filtrate with less than 5 ppm.

Activated Carbon Filter (ACF):

Carbon is a substance that has a long history of being used to

absorb impurities and is perhaps the most powerful absorbent
known to man. One pound of carbon contains a surface area of
roughly 125 acres and can absorb literally thousands of
different chemicals. Activated carbon is carbon which has a
slight electro-positive charge added to it, making it even more
attractive to chemicals and impurities. As the water passes
over the positively charged carbon surface, the negative ions
of the contaminants are drawn to the surface of the carbon


Activated carbon (AC) is a natural material derived from

bituminous coal, lignite, wood, coconut shell etc., activated by
steam and other means, and each one have different
adsorption properties (e.g. bituminous carbon for high chlorine
reduction capacity). Some manufacturers use various blends
of carbon to achieve specific water quality and contaminants
reduction (e.g. coconut shell carbon for "sweet taste").

Activated carbon surface properties are both hydrophobic and

oleophilic; that is, they “hate” water but “love” oil. When flow
conditions are suitable, dissolved chemicals in water flowing
over the carbon surface “stick” to the carbon in a thin film
while the water passes on.

There are two principle mechanisms by which activated carbon

removes contaminants from water; adsorption, and catalytic
reduction, a process involving the attraction of negatively-
charged contaminant ions to the positively-charged activated
carbon. Organic compounds are removed by adsorption and
residual disinfectants such as chlorine and chloramines are
removed by catalytic reduction.
This process is called adsorption. As a result of the
adsorption process, activated carbon is an effective method in
removing chlorine and it's by-products (TTHM's) and volatile
organic compounds (carbon based VOC's).


Plastic constitutes a major portion of the materials of

construction. The pressure vessel is made of fiber reinforced
plastic (FRP), pipes of poly vinyl chloride (PVC) and all the
filters have a single multi-port plastic valve operated by a
hand lever except the smallest ones where plastic ball valves
are used.


Activated carbon filters used for water treatment typically

contain either granular activated carbon (GAC) or powdered
block carbon. Although both are effective, carbon block filters
generally have a higher contaminant removal ratio. The two
most important factors affecting the efficiency of activated
carbon filtration are the amount of carbon in the unit and the
amount of time the contaminant spends in contact with it. The
more carbon the better. Similarly, the lower the flow rate of
the water, the more time that contaminants will be in contact
with the carbon, and the more absorption that will take place.
Particle size also affects removal rates.

Activated carbon filters are usually rated by the size of the

particles they are able to remove, measured in microns, and
generally range from 50 microns (least effective) down to 0.5
microns (most effective).


As described above activated carbon is an effective method in

removing chlorine and it's by-products (TTHM's) and volatile
organic compounds (carbon based VOC's). Both, man-made
and naturally occurring including among others:
 alachlor  1, 2-
 atrazine dechloropropa
 benzene ne
 carbofuran  cis-1,3-
 carbon tetrachloride dichloropropyle
 chlorobenzene ne
 2,4-D  toxaphene
 dibromochloropropane  chlordane
(DBCP)  radon
 O, P-dechlorobenzines  lindane
 forms of dichloroethylens  simazine
 PCB's
 toluene
 xylenes etc.,

Chlorine, benzene, trihalomethane (THM) compounds, radon,

solvents and hundreds of other man-made chemicals found in
tap water. Some activated carbon filters are moderately
effective at removing some, but not all, heavy metals. In
addition, densely compacted carbon block filters mechanically
remove particles down to 0.5 micron, including Giardia and
Cryptosporidium, turbidity and particulates. Although some
iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide will be removed by
these higher quality activated carbon filters, a manganese
greensand iron reduction filter is generally preferred to
remove these contaminants as the effectiveness of carbon
filter against iron and manganese is generally short-lived if the
contaminant concentration is high.

Carbon filters are NOT generally successful at removing

dissolved inorganic contaminants or metals such as
minerals/salts (hardness or scale-causing contaminants),
antimony, arsenic, asbestos, barium, beryllium, cadmium,
chromium, copper, fluoride, mercury, nickel, nitrates/nitrites,
selenium, sulfate, thallium, and certain radio nuclides.
Removing these contaminants requires either a reverse
osmosis water filter system or a distiller (some can also be
removed by KDF-55 or manganese greensand).

GAC does not remove sediment / particulate material very

well, so they are often preceded by a sediment filter.
Sediment pre-filters also prolong the activate carbon cartridge
life by eliminating gross contaminants that would otherwise
clog the activated carbon thereby reducing the surface area
available for absorption. Carbon block filters are generally
better then GAC filters at removing sediment.

Bacteria Tastes
and & Hydrogen Heavy
Arsenic Viruses Odors Chlorine Fluoride Sulfide Metals Nitrates Radon Sediment Iron VOC's
** to

= Effectively Removes = Significantly Reduces =

Minimal or No Removal

Cation and Anion Exchange Unit:

D.M. plants consists of cation unit and anion unit placed one
after other in seris . The cation unit is charged with strong acid
cation resin & anion unit is charged with strong base unit. D.
M. Plants remove all the anions & cations from the water.
Conductivity of the treated water is in the range of 0 to 40 ms
per cm. The cation resin is regenerated with Hydrochloric acid
& anion resin with Caustic solution. Then the cation unit is
rinsed with feed water and anion unit with decationised water
till the acceptable water quality is achieved.

Cation Exchange Units (Softeners)

How Cation Exchange Works:

Cation exchange resins are usually coated with positively
charged sodium ions. When water containing dissolved cations
contacts the resin, the cations are “exchanged” for or trade
places with the loosely held sodium ions on the resin. In this
way the calcium and magnesium ions responsible for hardness
are removed from the water and placed on the exchange
resin, and the sodium ions from the resin are added to the
water. This process makes the water “soft.” The calcium and
magnesium, which cause hardness, are reported as grains per
gallon (gpg), milligrams per liter (mg/L), or parts per million
(ppm).. Eventually a point is reached when very few sodium
ions remain on the resin; thus, no more calcium or
magnesium ions can be removed from the incoming water.
The resin at this point is said to be “exhausted” or “spent” and
cannot accomplish further water treatment until it is
“recharged” or “regenerated.” This can be done by
backwashing with a HCL solution.

Note: Approximately 20 mg of sodium are added per

gallon for each grain of hardness reduced

What Cation Exchange Removes.

Water softeners exchange calcium and magnesium with

sodium. This exchange occurs as the hard water passes
through a resin bed which attracts and holds calcium and
magnesium in exchange for sodium. Calcium and magnesium
cause hard water, and high levels can scale pipes, water
heaters, boilers, and appliances, reducing water flow and
efficiency. Cation exchange resins also remove barium,
cadmium, copper, iron, manganese, radium, zinc, and other
metallic, positively-charged ions.

A table of Cation given Below:

Formula Name
Na+ Sodium
K+ potassium
Fe2+ iron (II) or ferrous
Fe3+ iron (III) or ferric
Cu+ copper (I) or
Cu copper (II) or
NH4+ ammonium
H3O+ hydronium

Anion Exchange Unit

How Anion Exchange Works:

Anion exchange units have a resin that exchanges chloride or

hydroxide for the anions (the negatively charged atoms) that
they remove. Most use chloride, which increases the chloride
content of water and may cause a salty taste.

What Anion Exchange Removes. Anion exchange units can

remove nitrate, sulfate, and other negatively charged atoms
called anions. Researchers are developing resins to selectively
remove nitrate more efficiently than can now be done.
A table of anions given below

Formula Name
OH- hydroxide
Cl- chloride
Br- bromide
I- iodide
CN- cyanide
S2- sulfide
NH2- amide
NO3- nitrate
NO2- nitrite
SO42- sulfate
SO32- sulfite
PO43- phosphate
HPO42- hydrogen phosphate
H2PO4- dihydrogen
ClO4- perchlorate
ClO3- chlorate
ClO2- chlorite
ClO- hypochlorite
MnO42- manganate
SiO44- silicate
O22- peroxide

Mixed Bed Ion Exchange

Industrial Mixed Bed Deionisers are designed to produce high

purity treated water required by the pharmaceuticals and
electronic industries. These deionisers can be used as polishing
units after two bed deionisers or directly to obtain high purity
water. Mixed Bed Deionisers are single column units, filled with
strongly acidic cation and strongly basic anion exchange resins
mixed together evenly. Dissolved solids in the water are thus
removed, producing water of very high quality - confirming to IP
specifications of purified water. The treated water, however is not
free from bacteria and pyrogen.

Working principle

There are four distinct stages in the operation of an

industrial mixed-bed deioniser:
· Service/exhaustion
· Backwashing
· Regeneration
· Rinse/remix



Once the resins are exhausted, the bed is backwashed.

Backwashing is initiated by introducing a uniform upward flow of
water through the resin bed. The backwash step serves two
important functions: Firstly, it expands the resin bed releasing
entrapped particulate matter and resin fines. Secondly, the
backwash flow separates the denser cation resin from the lighter
anion resin, forming two distinct layers in the vessel.


The first stage in the process of regeneration involves passing a

dilute solution of acid, usually hydrochloric, through the cation
bed. After the cation resin has been regenerated, the anion resin
is regenerated by passing a dilute solution of caustic (sodium
hydroxide) through the anion resin bed. As a result, the cation
resin is reconverted to the hydrogen form and the anion resin to
the hydroxyl form.

First stage cation regenerate

Rinse water flow

Spent acid

Dilute acid regenerate

Second Stage anion regeneration
Dilute caustic regenerate

Spent caustic
to drain

Rinse water flow

Rinse / Remix
The final stage of regeneration is to rinse the resins of excess
regenerate and then remix with air.