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WATER STABILAZATION

Water is considered to be stable when it neither dissolves nor deposit
calcium carbonate i.e., the calcium carbonate is in equilibrium with
the hydrogen-ion concentration (Eq. 10-39). If the pH is raised from
the equilibrium point, water becomes scale-forming, depositing
calcium carbonate. Water turns corrosive if the pH is lowered.

CaCO3 + H+  Ca2+ + HCO3-

A thin coating of calcium carbonate on the pipe interior protects
the metal against excessive corrosion. Such a covering can be
maintained permanently if the water is held at a proper level of
calcium carbonate saturation.

Saturation Index

Langelier9 developed an index, in the pH range 6.5-9.5, that
makes it possible to predict whether a given water will deposit or
dissolve calcium carbonate. The saturation index is calculated by the
following equation :

SI = pH – pHs = pH – [(pK2 – pKs) + pCa2+ + pAlk]

where pH = actual pH of the water
pHs = pH at saturation
(pK2 - pKs ) = empirical constants
pCa2+ = negative logarithm of the calcium-
ion concentration, moles/liter
pAIk = negative logarithm of the total
alkalinity equivalents/liter

A positive value for the index signifies the water is oversaturated and
will precipitate calcium carbonate. A negative number indicates that
the water is corrosive. The saturated index serves as a measure of
the water’s tendency to dissolve or precipitate calcium carbonate but

IR. AHMAD JUSOH/UMT/2009
does not give either the rate at which stability is attained or the
capacity.

The value of (pK2’ -pKs , ) based on temperature and ionic
strength can be determined from Table 10-3 by Larson and Buswell.10
Ionic strength is calculated using the following equation :

Ionic strength = ½ ( C1 Z12 + C2 Z22 +….. + Cn Zn2 )

where C = concentration, moles/1000 g of water
Z = valence of the individual ions

 EXAMPLE

Calculate the saturation index (SI) for water based on the following
information :

Molecular
component mg/l Weight Moles/l
Ca2+ 63.3 40.1 0.00158
Mg2+ 14.8 24.3 0.00061
Na+ 19.5 23.0 0.00085
K+ 10.1 39.1 0.00026
CO3 2- 7.8 60.0 0.00013
HCO3 - 94.4 61.0 0.00155
SO4 2- 80.0 96.0 0.00083
Cl- 17.0 35.5 0.00048

pH = 7.9; Temperature = 150C

IR. AHMAD JUSOH/UMT/2009
Solution

Using Eq. 10-41’

Ionic strength

(Ca2+) = 0.5 X 0.00158 X 4 = 0.00316
(M2+) = 0.5 X 0.00061 X 4 = 0.00122
(Na+) = 0.5 X 0.00085 X 1 = 0.00042
(K+) = 0.5 X 0.00026 X 1 = 0.00013
(CO32-) = 0.5 X 0.00013 X 4 = 0.00026
(HCO3 -) = 0.5 X 0.00155 X 1 = 0.00078
(SO4 2-) = 0.5 X 0.00083 X 4 = 0.00166
(Cl - ) = 0.5 X 0.00048 X 1 = 0.00024
________

0.00786

Using Table 10-3, with an ionic strength of 0.008 at a temperature of
150C :

(pK2’ -pKs , ) = 2.455

pCa2+ = - log 0.00158 = log 634 = 2.80

pAlk = p[C O32- + HCO3 -)

= - log[0.00013 X 2 + 0.00155] = 2.74

Substitution in Eq. 10-5 yields

SI = 7.90 - 2.46 - 2.80 - 2.74 = - 0.10

The negative value of the saturation index indicates that the water is
slightly corrosive and will dissolve calcium carbonate.

IR. AHMAD JUSOH/UMT/2009
PH Adjustment

The stability of softened water is established by controlled
recarbonation. If the water processing does not include softening, the
method most commonly used in corrosion control is upward
adjustment of pH, and addition of metaphosphates. Bringing the
water pH above its calcium carbonate saturation value preserves a
thin protective coating on the pipe interior. Metaphosphates
sequester the slight excess of calcium and carbonate ions, preventing
crystal formation of calcium carbonate scale.

Either lime or soda ash can be applied to treat corrosive waters
having a hardness exceeding 35 mg/l. The former is preferred in
treating soft water to provide the needed calcium as well as pH
adjustment, although lime for calcium and soda ash to provide
carbonate may be needed.

IR. AHMAD JUSOH/UMT/2009