ion exchange resins for industrial water purification
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Ion-Exchange Resins for Industrial Water Purification. EMAC 276 - April 22 nd , 2009 Bradley Greenman Jerry Lin Tim Sykes Jamie Vaughn. Ion exchange resin beads. History & Application. 1850 – Thompson & Way observe Zeolites

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ion exchange resins for industrial water purification

Ion-Exchange Resins for Industrial Water Purification

EMAC 276 - April 22nd, 2009

Bradley Greenman

Jerry Lin

Tim Sykes

Jamie Vaughn

Ion exchange resin beads

history application
History & Application
  • 1850 – Thompson & Way observe Zeolites
  • 1930’s – Phenol & Formaldehyde monomers Bakelite Resins competed with Sulfonated Carbon
  • 1970’s - Modern Resins: Mostly Polystyrene (PS) or Polyacrylic with Divinyl Benzene (DVB) copolymers
  • Exchange Behavior:
  • Watersoftening (Ca++, Mg++ Na+, H+)
  • Demineralization (i.e. CaCO3)
  • Heavy Metal Ion Removal (Pb, Cu, Ni, Zn, Cd..)
    • Sometimes called Hydrometallurgy
  • Radioactive Ion removal
  • Ultrapure Water (up to 18.2 MΩ)
the polymers
The Polymers
  • Free Radical Polymerization w/ PS and 0.5-25% DVB yields PS-DVB copolymer
  • Benzoyl Peroxide Catalyst
  • Occurs in solution resulting in spherical precipitates which are collected for use
  • Size of precipitate beads is controlled by manipulating suspension stabilizers
  • Functional Group added with post-polymerization acid/solution treatment
the polymers continued
The Polymers (continued)
  • Similar Free Radical Polymerization process but w/ methacrylic acid and DVB for cross-linked polyacrylic-DVB copolymer with carboxylic functional groups
  • Varied treatments yield various functional groups:

SBA: Trimethylamine,


WBA: methylamine,


material properties
Material Properties
  • Cross-linked insoluble polymer matrix w/ fixed hydrophilic functional groups w/ mobile counter ions (i.e. the H+ or Na+)
  • Degree of Cross-linking %DVB
  • Chemical/Thermal/Physical Stability %DVB
  • Pore Size
  • Ion exchange rate
  • Ion exchange capacity
      • In milliequivalents/gram: 0.01-9 meq/g, commonly between 2–5
  • Particle Size ranges from 1-2 mm to 100’s of μm
applications sybron bayer
Applications: Sybron-Bayer

Left: Detail of Ion-Exchange Vessel and plumbing

Below: Schematic of multi-stage ion-exchange vessel system

Ion-exchange step

Regeneration Step

Other leading producers include

Dow Chemical Inc. and Purolite Inc.

polymer cost
Polymer Cost

Zeolites cost approximately:

$74-110/ft3 [Meindersma]

They can also be used at higher temperatures


-Complicated Regeneration

-Large scale Mining

-Brittle Ceramic

Cost range: $45-175/ft3[Harland]

Breakdown by Class:

SAC: $70-120/ft3

WAC: $150-200/ft3

SBA: $180-250/ft3

WBA: $180-200/ft3


ion exchange resin trends
Ion-Exchange Resin Trends
  • Competition: Some Zeolites are still used, Activated Carbons, Reverse Osmosis
  • Environmental: Regeneration effluent disposal
  • Problems: Cannot remove particulate or microbes, Inefficient at removing Cl- or F-
    • Can couple with activated carbon bed for these
  • Degradation modes: Thermal and physical
  • Future Development: Trying to fabricate smaller beads/powders, membranes, Pharmaceuticals, Space station use

Bolto, B.A., and L. Pawlowski. Wastewater Treatment by Ion Ex

Zagorodni, Andrei A., Ion Exchange Materials: Properties and Applications. Elsevier: 2006, ISBN: 0-08-044552-7.

Harland, Clive E., Ion Exchange: Theory and Practice, 2nd ed. RSC Publishing: 1994. ISBN: 0-85-186484-8

Sybron Chemicals Inc. Technical Document: Introduction to Industrial Ion Exchange. Birmingham, New Jersey

Res-Kem Corporation. April 2009.

Helfferich, Friedrich G. Ion Exchange. Dover Publications: 1962. ISBN 0-48-668784-8.

APEC Water Systems, April 2009.

Remco Engineering Water and Control Systems. April 2009. change. 1st ed. New York: E. & F. Spon, 1987.

Meindersma, Haan. Economical feasibility of zeolitemembranes for industrial scale separations of aromatic hydrocarbons. Desalination (2002) pp. 29-34.