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Q & A: What is deionized water?
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Properties of Water

Q: A:

What is dieonized water? - Bob (age 9) minesota international school

Deionized Water (We call it "DI water" in the chemistry labs) is just what it sounds like: Water that has the ions removed. Tap water is usually full of ions from the soil (Na+, Ca2+), from the pipes (Fe2+, Cu2+), and other sources. Water is usually deionized by using an ion exchange process. Why de-ionize water? Often, when you are doing chemistry experiments, the ions in water will be an interference. They can switch places with other ions you may be interested in experimenting on. You may also be interested in finding out what elements are in a small sample of material. For example, a farmer may want to know what's in his soil, or the Environmental Protection Agency wants to know what a factory's emitting into the air. Dissolving the sample in water and doing tests on the result is a common technique, and contaminants in the water will make the whole test give the wrong answers. Water with ions in it is also quite a lot more electrically conductive than water without ions in it. If you boil water with lots of ions in it until all the water's gone, you'll have a crusty salt residue in your pot. We guess de-ionized water isn't necessarily pure water, given the usual de-ionization procedure. Non-ionic contaminants may persist. Electrically polar molecules dissolve easily in water, and some complicated molecules have polar ends and non-polar ends, which can help non-polar stuff (like oils) mix in water. Soap is an example. Soapy water may count as deionized, but most people would insist that their de-ionized water doesn't have (much) other stuff in it. Jason and Tom (published on 10/22/2007)

Follow-Up #1: de-ionized radiator water

Q: A:

...a practical application to the deionized water question: My friends and I work on our own cars. I keep hearing about using distilled or deionized water in the radiator to extend the life of the aluminum and solder in a car radiator. It seems that distilled water would be a better choice than deionized water. What would be the least corrosive? - Robert Cary Salt Lake City, Ut De-ionized water is water that lacks ions coming from sodium, calcium etc. It still may contain other organic junk. Distilled water is purer. For radiator use there is probably not much difference. I use distilled water for topping up my car's battery. Lee H (published on 03/13/07)

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Q & A: What is deionized water? | Department of Physics | University of Illinois at Ur... Page 2 of 3

Follow-Up #2: drinking deionized water

Q: A:

Is deionized water drinkable? - Manuel Guerra Utica, NY

Unless the water is specifically for human consumption, it might be a bad idea to drink it because it could contain traces of the de-ionizing resins. I've heard that this is a problem with some deionized water intended for industrial use. On the other hand, many websites have warnings that deionized water is dangerous because it is 'too pure'. These warnings are pure nonsense. Mike W. (published on 04/05/07)

Follow-Up #3: cleaning water

Q: A:

Why my factory DI water is very dirty ! But the resistivity is more than 10 mohm .Do this will cause the silicon chip problem? Any way to measure the water cleaness ? - Tan (age 30) Singapore When you say that the water is dirty even though it has high resistivity (Is that 10 Meg ohm-cm?), I guess you mean it has some dust in it. You can measure dust levels by shining a cheap little red laser into the water in a clear glass cuvette and measuring the amount of light scattered. You can judge by eye or do that more systematically using a photodiode (also cheap and sturdy) together with an optical filter matched to the laser wavelength. Dust can be filtered out with membrane filters available from several suppliers. Mike W. (published on 12/02/07)

Follow-Up #4: types of pure water

Q: A:

I am cleaning solar panels and was told to use deionized water. Why won't distilled or reverse osmosis water work just as well? - George Loving (age 80) Portland,OR USA Properly distilled water or reverse-osmosis purified water should generally be cleaner than water that's just been run through an ion exchange resin. I hate to give technical advice on something where I have no direct experience, but I can't think of any reason why you should avoid distilled or reverse-osmosis water. Is de-ionized water cheaper? Mike W. (published on 04/28/11)

Follow-Up #5: deionized water for electronics

Q: A:

In response to Mike W.'s question, the likely reason for using deionized water is to avoid the effect of contaminant ions on the electrical parameters of the panel. Quoting the textbook from my IC Engineering classes [Introduction to Integrated Circuit Engineering by D. K. Reinhard], "One improperly cleaned beaker or inadvertent contact with tap water can send threshold voltages into the stratosphere." [I can't tell if this is getting through or not because there is no message if it did or didn't - it just comes back to the same page with a new challenge. How about adding a message "It didn't work - try again." - Randall Fisher, Ph.D. (age 46) Grand Haven, MI, USA Certainly the water needs to be nearly free of ions, as you say. The question, however, was why distilled water or water purified by reverse osmosis, each also free of ions, wouldn't work. Our guess was that they are more expensive. Mike W. (published on 06/10/12) Follow-up on this answer.

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