Ion Exchanger

Definition - What does Ion Exchanger mean?

Ion exchangers are resins that are composed of polymers with cross-linking (connections between long carbon chains in a polymer). Typical ion exchangers include:

  • Ion exchange resins
  • Zeolites
  • Montmorillonite
  • Clay
  • Soil humus

The resin has active groups in the form of electrically charged sites. At these sites, ions of opposite charge are attracted but may be replaced by other ions depending on their relative concentrations and affinities for the sites.

Ion exchangers are widely used in the hydrometallurgical, chemical and petrochemical, and metals finishing industries, among many others.

Corrosionpedia explains Ion Exchanger

Ion exchangers can be unselective or have binding preferences for certain ions or classes of ions, depending on their chemical structure. This can be dependent on the size of the ions, their charge, or their structure. Typical examples of ions that can bind to ion exchangers are:

  • H+, OH-
  • Na+, Cl-
  • Ca2+

Two key factors determine the effectiveness of a given ion exchange resin: The favorability of any given ion, and the number of active sites available for this exchange. Since resin has active groups in the form of electrically charged sites, to maximize the active sites, significant surface areas are generally desirable.

Ion exchangers could be:

  • Cation exchangers: Exchange positively charged ions (cations)
  • Anion Exchangers: Exchange negatively charged ions (anions)
  • Amphoteric Exchangers: Exchange both cations and anions simultaneously

In industrial uses, pure water is often crucial for the successful development of a product and corrosion prevention.

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