Water comes in many different types such as distilled, purified, and alkaline to name a few. Another kind of water that’s increasing in industrial usage and in manufacturing processes is deionised water.
If you are asking yourself what is deionised water, continue reading. This article is going to focus on deionised water, what is it, how is it made, benefits, and disadvantages. Without further delay, let’s get the ball rolling.
What Is Deionised Water?
Not a lot of people know that pure water is rare. For example, tap water contains ions. These ions may have come from the soil like calcium and sodium. Or, from the water pipes like copper and iron.
Deionised (DI) water simply means that ions that are present in the water are removed. There are plenty of ways to remove ions from the water like deionisation or filtration process. Keep in mind that ions are molecules and atoms that carry an electric charge mainly due to losing or gaining an electron. DI water can be considered as a very pure form of water as it contains no ions. This also means that DI water does not come with any charge.
Because DI water is very pure and contains no charge, many industries and manufacturers find it valuable. These days, large scale production of the DI water is accomplished by several means.
How is Deionised Water Made?
DI water is mainly made by a process called deionisation. This is mostly a chemical process that usually uses ion exchange resins. These specialised resins will have both negatively and positively charged ions. As the water passes through the resins, the ions in the water will then pair with ions in the resin. As a result, the ions are then removed from the water.
These days, there are three types of deionisation processes that are commonly used – the mixed bed, co-current, and counter current.
- Mixed Bed – This process combines two equal parts of positively charged and negatively charged resin into a single column. This process is complex and expensive. Hence, it is only used when one needs the purest form of DI water.
- Co-Current – This process entails the use of regeneration chemicals, which then enters the top column together with the water and then exits at the bottom. The top column could be using a positively or negatively charged resin. This process is less expensive than the mixed bed, but the water is also slightly less pure. It’s also more expensive than the counter-current method as it uses more regeneration chemicals.
- Counter-Current – This process requires that the water enters at a different end of the column, while the regeneration chemicals enter at the opposite end. This method is preferred if you need an affordable way of producing DI water. On the downside, the quality of the water is the least pure when compared to other processes.
How to Gauge the Effectiveness of the Deionisation Process?
Most people know that water is a good conductor of electricity. The reason for this is due to the high amounts of ions that are floating in the water. The fewer the ions in the water, the less conductive it becomes. Hence, to gauge the effectiveness of the deionisation process, electricity is introduced into the water.
The less conductive it becomes, the purer the quality of the DI water.
Common Uses of Deionised Water
Because of the purer quality of the DI water, it is invaluable for certain industries.
Below are a few uses of DI water.
- Lab Tests
When the highest accuracy of lab results is required, then all of the solutions must use the purest form of DI water to avoid contamination. If there are enough contaminants in the water, then it’s highly possible that the lab results will be erroneous. DI water is also used to clean laboratory equipment for the same reason of avoiding contamination.
- Cleaning Agents
Because there are no ions in DI water, it becomes a magnet for ions. Since dirt and filth have ions in them, these then become attracted to the DI water. As a result, DI water becomes a very good cleaning agent. It is especially effective at cleaning mirrors, wood, windows, and other smooth surfaces because it does not leave any residue. Also, DI water is excellent at wiping down surfaces that may have been wiped with other cleaning solutions as it also removes the chemical residues.
- Automotive Vehicles
DI water is what’s typically used for automotive cooling systems and engine batteries for several reasons. Because the DI water is purer, it minimises the formation of mineral deposits in the engine and batteries. This is especially true in automotive as the heat can speed up the process of calcification. Another reason is that DI is a poor conductor of heat. Hence, it’s a great help for any cooling system.
- Archaeological Digs
Archaeologists regularly use DI water as a way to remove chlorides that are attached to artefacts. This is particularly true for underwater finds, an archaeologist also uses DI water for staged baths, which is an advanced form of artefact cleaning.
- Fish Tanks
For freshwater fish tanks, the use of DI water is a common occurrence. The reason for this is because of the purity of the DI water. Because of the contaminants in unpurified water, an increased rate of algae build-up is what usually happens. Such a scenario will often negatively affect the health of marine life in the tank. Also, it increases the number of times you need to do costly or time-consuming tank cleaning.
- Cosmetic Industry
DI water is what’s commonly used for creating beauty and health products because of its purity. Using ordinary water can cause a myriad of problems. For one, it can reduce the shelf life of a product. And, it may cause undesirable effects to the user due to the contaminants. For these reasons and many others, DI water is a standard for formulating high-quality health and beauty products.
- Industrial-Grade Machinery
DI water has plenty to offer for industrial machinery. It can help lubricate, cool, and clean heavy-duty machinery. DI water doesn’t corrode like ordinary water. Also, it prevents rusting and the build-up of minerals. Thus, DI water can increase the lifespan of machinery.
Advantages of Deionised Water
- High Purity – It’s perhaps the cleanest water that humans can create.
- Non-Corrosive – Because the minerals are removed, DI water does not react with metals in a way that leads to corrosion.
- No Residue – Since DI water does not have contaminants, nothing is left behind when it dries up. This also means it minimises mineral deposits and calcification.
- Low Conductivity – DI water contains very low to zero ions. Thus, it doesn’t conduct electric currents very well.
- Good Diluter – Because of DI water’s purity, it’s a good diluter as it minimises contamination to whatever it is mixed with.
- Fast to Create – While the process of producing DI water may be complex, it’s still faster to manufacture compared to other types of water.
Disadvantages of Deionised Water
There’s not a lot of disadvantages of DI water unless you want something that’s exactly the opposite of what it offers. For example, if you want something that is a good conductor of heat and electricity, then this type of water is not what you need. If you want metals to corrode, then DI water is the worst kind to use. Aside from that, perhaps the most disadvantageous part of DI water is that it is not advisable for human consumption.
Ordinary water has minerals such as calcium and magnesium that the body needs. DI water can’t give you that. Because of its attribute of becoming an ion magnet, it can pose several problems. For example, it may absorb the minerals from the tissues and cells once it gets inside the human body.
Another potential problem is the container of the DI water concerning the health effects. For example, it may absorb the metal ions from the piping and container, which can lead to metal toxicity when consumed.
Washing your food ingredients with DI water is also not advisable as it may absorb the vital nutrients from your food; which will then go to waste if you throw away the water.
Where to Buy Deionised Water
Since there are already deionised water systems that are available for commercial use, there are plenty of places for you to acquire DI water. However, you need to find a reputable and honest company. This is because DI water is easy to fake as it looks like any ordinary water.
Unless you have a testing system, then you’ll have to take the word of the company. Hence, dealing with an honest and reputable DI water provider is of utmost importance.
Wrapping It All Up
Deionised water is a kind of water that the ions have been stripped off using a deionising or filtration process. In most cases, a special type of resin is used to separate the ions from the water. As a result, deionised water is a very pure form of water.
Thus, it’s excellent for uses when contamination can cause problems for the outcome. Despite its superb attributes, it’s generally not a good idea to drink DI water.
Lastly, when buying DI water, make sure you are dealing with an honest and reputable company like Waternation as it’s a product that’s easy to counterfeit.