A compound which, when introduced into water used for cleaning or washing, will counteract the effects of the hard water minerals (calcium and magnesium) and produce the effect of softened water. For example, detergent additives and polyphosphates.
soft water; water softening. Compare with water hardness. A material that lowers water hardness when dissolved in water. For example, sodium carbonate ("washing soda") softens water by precipitating Ca2+ ions as CaCO3. Zeolites soften water by exchanging Ca2+ ions with Na+ ions.
A mechanical system used to soften the hard waterâ€•water with more than five grains of salt (carbonates and sulfates) per gallonâ€•found in much of the U.S. Hard water tend to clog pipes, leave scum and complicate washing. Water softeners pass the water through a bed of resin and a silica sand filter to absorb the salts. Typical systems have a second tank of brine that regenerates the brine, which regularly loses its efficiency.
A pressurized water treatment device in which hard water is passed through a bed of cation exchange media (either inorganic or synthetic organic) for the purpose of exchanging calcium and magnesium ions for sodium or potassium ions, thus producing a softened water which is more desirable for laundering, bathing, and dishwashing. This cation exchange process was originally called zeolite water softening or the Permutit Process. Most modern water softeners use a sulfonated bead form of styrene/divinylbenzene (DVB) cation resin.