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Why is water hard or soft in nature?

Have you wondered why the water tastes differently in some parts of the country; especially the rural areas? We will tell you why...

Everyday Chemistry - Why is water hard or soft in nature?

Water is same all over the world; this is what we normally believe. However, try a sip and you'll know that water tastes different when you go to rural areas or villages. It tends to not quench your thirst immediately because you're not used to it. Also, you will notice that the soap doesn't lather well in such water. Here is the reason why...

What is hard water and soft water?

The difference between hard and soft water is that one is treated and the other is not. Hard water has a high quantity of dissolved minerals. Soft water is treated water, which only contains sodium. The minerals in the water give it a typical taste, which we identify as hard water. Some mineral waters are highly sought for their distinct flavour and the health benefits they may offer. Soft water, on the other hand, may taste salty and may not be suitable for drinking.

How is hard water softened?

Hard water can be softened by removing the minerals from it. This can be done by treating the water with lime or by passing it over an ion exchange resin. The ion exchange resins are complex sodium salts and when water flows over the resin surface, the sodium in the water is dissolved. Minerals like calcium and magnesium precipitate on the resin surface along with other miners and sodium gets dissolved in the water. This is how hard water turns soft.

After the treatment, most of the ions get removed in soft water, but sodium and other anions (commonly known as negatively charged ions) may still remain. Water can be de-ionized by using a resin that replaces cations with hydrogen and anions with hydroxide. With this type of resin, the cations stick to the resin and the hydrogen and hydroxide that are released combine and form pure water.

Thus, next time if the water in your village tastes different, you know why!

Tags :     Hard Water     Soft Water     Sodium     Drink     Mineral     Flavour     Salty     Ion Exchange Resin     Dissolved     Anions    


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