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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.