The ion exchange filtration is one of the most common water filtration methods. Ion exchange process percolates water through bead-like spherical resin materials (ion-exchange resins). Ions in the water are exchanged for other ions fixed to the beads. The two most common ion-exchange methods are softening and deionization.
Ion exchange is a water treatment process commonly used for water softening or demineralization, but it also is used to remove other substances from the water in processes such as dealkalization, deionization, and disinfection.
These resins may be packaged in separate bed exchangers with separate units for the cation and anion exchange beds. Or, they may be packed in mixed bed exchangers containing a mixture of both types of resins. In either case, the resin must be "regenerated" once it has exchanged all its hydrogen and/or hydroxyl ions for charged contaminants in the water. This regeneration reverses the purification process, replacing the contaminants bound to the DI resins with hydrogen and hydroxyl ions.
Recently ion exchange resins
have been increasingly used to create drinking water. Specialized resins have been designed to treat various contaminants of concern, including perchlorate and uranium. There are many resins designed for these purposes, such as strong base/strong anion resin
, which is used to remove nitrates and perchlorate. There are also resin beads that can be used for water softening.