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The Chemistry Of Natural Water Essay

2137 words - 9 pages

INTRODUCTIONThe purpose of this experiment is to explore the hardness of the water on campus. Hard water has been aproblem for hundreds of years. One of the earliest references to the hardness or softness of water is inHippocrates discourse on water quality in Fifth century B.C. Hard water causes many problems in both inthe household and in the industrial world. One of the largest problems with hard water is that it tends toleave a residue when it evaporates. Aside from being aesthetically unpleasing to look at, the build up ofhard water residue can result in the clogging of valves, drains and piping. This build up is merely theaccumulation of the minerals dissolved in natural water and is commonly called scale.Other than clogging plumbing, the build up of scale poses a large problem in the industrial world. Manythings that are heated are often cooled by water running thru piping. The build up of scale in these pipescan greatly reduce the amount of heat the cooling unit can draw away from the source it is trying to heat.This poses a potentially dangerous situation. The build up of excess heat can do a lot of damage; boilerscan explode, containers can melt etc. On the flip side of the coin, a build up of scale on an object beingheated, a kettle for example, can greatly reduce the heat efficiency of the kettle. Because of this, it takesmuch more energy to heat the kettle to the necessary temperature. In the industrial world, this couldamount to large sums of money being thrown into wasted heat.In addition to clogging plumbing and reducing heating efficiency, the build up of hard water alsoadversely affects the efficiency of many soaps and cleansers. The reason for this is because hard watercontains many divalent or sometimes even polyvalent ions. These ions react with the soap and althoughthey do not form precipitates, they prevent the soap from doing it's job. When the polyvalent ions reactwith the soap, they form an insoluble soap scum. This is once again quite unpleasing to look at and stainsmany surfaces.The sole reason for all these problems arising from hard water is because hard water tends to have higherthan normal concentrations of these minerals, and hence it leaves a considerable amount more residuethan normal water. The concentration of these minerals is what is known as the water's Total DissolvedSolids or TDS for short. This is merely a way of expressing how many particles are dissolved in water.The TDS vary from waters of different sources, however they are present in at least some quantity in allwater, unless it has been passed through a special distillation filter. The relative TDS is easily measuredby placing two drops of water, one distilled and one experimental on a hotplate and evaporating the twodrops. You will notice that the experimental drop will leave a white residue. This can be compared tosamples from other sources, and can be used as a crude way of measuring the relative TDS of water from aspecific area. The more...

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