Author Topic: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.  (Read 2695 times)

Offline awemawson

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One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« on: January 15, 2018, 02:06:10 PM »
I've been rejuvenating the automatic water softening / de-calcification system on my Karcher MPDS steam cleaner.

It's probably worth pointing out that this is an ex-military 'Multi-Purpose-Decontamination-System' designed to clean vehicles and personnel after battlefield nuclear weapons had been used. Not much technical information about. However this bit of the design is relatively simple. A small tank holds a reservoir of dosing liquid that is dispensed via a solenoid valve into the 'suck' orifice of a venturi thence on into the machines pipe work. Solenoid valve is worked by a timing board pulsing it every minute or so. Built into the tank are a pair of electrodes used (presumably by conductivity) to warn of an empty tank.

So far so good - the electronics of the timer have been sorted, the tank repaired but what fluid to use? Obviously it needs to shift limescale, so something like citric acid or phosphoric acid would fit the bill. Saturated solutions of citric acid are insufficiently conductive for the sensing but 40% phosphoric acid works ok.

However what is it supposed to use? I have a Nato stock number for the correct stuff but no details.

It seems that the MPDS evolved from the HDS 1000 DE and it's manual stated Karcher RM110 fluid FOR WHICH THERE IS AN MSDS SHEET  :ddb:

The MSDS sheet says it contains  hydrochloric acid 1-3%  and sodium hydroxide 5-8% with a pH of 7.0-7.5

Now as far as I remember my school chemistry here we have an acid and a base being mixed producing a salt plus water with a pretty much neutral pH

so what is the resultant chemical ????

(No photographs as the forum has problems at the moment with photos!)

Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline philf

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 02:16:35 PM »
Andrew,

You are spot on with salt + water.

HCl + NaOH = NaCl + H2O

But I think because the concentration of NaOH is stronger you'll end up with a mix of NaOH + NaCl. If that's the case why bother with the HCl in the first place?

It's 50 years since I did chemistry so I may be missing something.

I wanted to be a chemistry teacher until we started doing organic chemistry and I totally lost interest.

Phil.
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Location: Marple, Cheshire

eskoilola

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2018, 02:17:33 PM »
The result is table salt.

Offline awemawson

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2018, 02:31:02 PM »
But again back to school chemistry - table salt NaCl isn't going to do much to shift calcium deposits - or am I missing something here  :scratch:
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline millwright

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2018, 02:36:53 PM »
Dendritic Dairy Salt was we used in the water softener for the steam boiler feed water at work,  Two 10,000lb an hour heavy fuel oil fired Babcock boilers 40 od yrs old and lovely and clean inside and corrosion free when opened up for the annual inspection.

John

Offline awemawson

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2018, 04:39:48 PM »
Now that's interesting :thumbup:

But google just tells me it's ordinary table salt in a different crystal form - those dendrites ! But makes no mention of water softening applications  :scratch:

I'm aware that salt is used in the Permuit water softening process , but that is just to pluck the calcium ions off the active resin during the recharge cycle and replace them with sodium ions - I use to order it by the ton for my Launderettes, but the salt per se didn't do the softening it recharged the resin.
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline millwright

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2018, 05:01:38 PM »
Yes Andrew You are right it re charged the resin, had to go and have a read up on the Permutit site. was thinking back and its 36 yrs ago since the boilers were cut up for scrap. but the permutit softened certainly worked well.

John

Offline AdeV

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2018, 03:49:18 AM »
Dishwashers use plain salt to soften water - as far as I know, also by ion-exchange, but AFAIK there's no resin or other component in the softening sytem - certainly nothing consumable?
Cheers!
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Offline awemawson

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2018, 03:53:15 AM »
Ade,

Dishwashers have a small Permutit system built in, with an active resin that the salt recharges
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline RussellT

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 05:47:04 AM »
Like others I've forgotten most of the chemistry I've ever learnt, :doh: :doh: but I think so far we're all missing something.  If the HCl and NaOH were mixed in exact ratios they wouldn't make it like that - salt would be much cheaper.

I suspect there is something else going on relating to how this effects the other ions in tap water.  IIRC scale is normally Calcium Carbonate and I think there is something happening that is preventing the scale from coming out of solution.

Russell

Offline awemawson

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2018, 06:15:16 AM »
The manual that I have for this beast specifies Karcher part number 2.780-003.0 which is a 5 litre bottle of the 'Calcium Inhibitor'

Google finds this as a product (see .pdf attached) but I cant find a Material Data Safety Sheet for it.

Google also translates this into a Nato Stock Number of  6850-12-175-4344 but again I can't find any specific details of what it is.

From the .pdf it seems to be a brownish purple colour  :scratch:

Anyone got contacts that can turn NSN numbers into physical reality ?
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline PekkaNF

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 11:45:05 AM »
You do have interesting stuff.

I have been wondering how these water softening stuff works. Typical to me I found that zeolite () does not work on boilers:

http://hardsoftwater.com/zeolite-process-for-water-softening/
he softening water by this process is used for laundry process and cannot be used for boiler purpose. Because this water softening system contains NaHCO3 in the water; when this water is heated, it produces CO2 which is corrosive for boilerplates.

So, because I am noob - I google:
http://www.nationwideboiler.com/boiler-blog/the-water-softener-what-why-and-how.html
The Chemical Process Ion Exchange
The Cleaning Process Regeneration

So, I know that this might be usefull and very similar that has been discussed before. One more serach..
http://www.waterprofessionals.com/learning-center/softening/
Getting closer isn't it?

And one link further - bottom of the page:
http://www.waterprofessionals.com/learning-center/ion-exchange/

Do we have a winner? Or we are not in Kansas anymore?

Regeneration

The "reactivation" process is called regeneration and is carried out using a strong acid for the cation (as a source of hydronium ions) and liquid caustic (sodium hydroxide) as a source of hydroxyl ions for the anion. Resin is regenerated on site using hydrochloric or sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide (caustic) to regenerate the cation and anion respectively. Controls cause the resin to backwash and then draw a set amount of regenerant chemical for a specified period of time and at a specified flowrate, followed by a slow and fast rinse. In the case of mixed bed resin, a controlled backwash causes the resin to separate and two manifolds function to direct acid to the cation and caustic to the anion.

So, How is the plumbing and is there a holding vessel that softens the water + pluming to regenerate it?

Pekka

Offline awemawson

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2018, 12:00:39 PM »
No, the feed water is only 'treated' by dosing with this mystery liquid.

Cold water passes through a venturi that draws the liquid into the stream (as long as the release valve is opened by the electronic timer) and then travels on into the coils of the diesel powered burner, emerging at a controlled temperature which can exceed 100 deg C. It has a 'dry steam' facility whereby the water flow is halved and steam at 140-150 deg C emerges ready to take your skin off  :bugeye:

Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline awemawson

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2018, 02:46:19 PM »
Link to my original post on this device with pictures:

https://madmodder.net/index.php/topic,11079.0.html



Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline RotarySMP

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2018, 03:05:02 PM »
My understanding (which is not very robust) of an Ion exchanger, is that it will have two chambers. In the first, the cathion exchanger the HCi is added, so the disassociated H+ ions replace the Ca+ ions which then fall out. In the second chamber, the anion exchanger, the NaOH is added, with the disassociated Hydroxide ions binding with the carbonates.   

Of course it could be completely different.
Mark

Offline awemawson

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2018, 03:13:36 PM »
But Mark this unit has nothing like that - just the mystery liquid injected into the water stream.


I just remembered that the entire water system in our holiday cottages has a ' Combimate' softening system where all the water passes though a chamber containing spheres of 'Combiphos' which gradually dissolve and have to be replaced - looking at my bottle of spare spheres lead me to the manufacturers web site:

http://www.combimate.co.uk/what-is-combiphos.html

So here is another total loss (ie cannot be regenerated) water softening system (*) that is perhaps in some way similar to the Karcher one  :scratch:


(* strictly speaking it's NOT softening the water but preventing the calcium being deposited )
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline bertie_bassett

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2018, 04:41:28 PM »
 we have a total loss calgon dosing system at one of our treatment works which might be similar?

the 'calgon' comes in 25kg bags in a granular form and is dissolved in a tank then dosed directly into the drinking water to soften it and help keep the filters clean.

not sure what the chemical composition is but it cant be anything too fancy as its going in the drinking water

a competent engineer uses the tools and knowledge available, to get a challenging job done.

 An incompetent "engineer" tells his boss that the existing equipment "can't do the job" and to get another machine

Offline awemawson

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2018, 04:50:28 PM »
Ho ho Bertie - send me a sack  :clap:

I found this interesting paper on the Southern Water web site:

Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline bertie_bassett

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2018, 04:57:49 PM »
ill see what i can do ;) i had asumed it was a salt based system but will have to get hold of the msds to check
a competent engineer uses the tools and knowledge available, to get a challenging job done.

 An incompetent "engineer" tells his boss that the existing equipment "can't do the job" and to get another machine

Offline charadam

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2018, 07:34:52 PM »
Andrew,

Happy New Year!

Try a search as National Stock No, rather than NATO and you get this:

https://www.nsncenter.com/NSN/6850-12-175-4344

It used to be my life's bane trying to equate across the pond.


Offline awemawson

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2018, 12:05:15 PM »
Well amazingly some RM110 Karcher water softener fluid has turned up on eBay. This is the stuff recommended for the MPDS precursor the  HDS 1000 DE :thumbup:

I shall order some and try it for conductivity :coffee:


https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/KARCHER-Water-Softener-RM-110-For-HDS-Hot-Pressure-Washer-6295625-6-295-625-0/192429550659?hash=item2ccdb1ec43:g:CYQAAOSwLF1X2Se4



Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline PekkaNF

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2018, 12:30:17 PM »
That's interesting...it says no phosphates...and the stuff I keep on bumping on this total loss system is hexametaphosphate. Like here:
https://www.plumbingsupply.com/scale-inhibitor.html


And  where it leads me:

pH control

Another vital parameter in water treatment is controlling the pH of the water. Due to their buffer (pH regulating) capacity, orthophosphates and purified phosphoric acid can keep the pH level of the water as constant as possible.
Corrosion inhibition

Phosphates are used to reduce corrosion in water mains. This may be either anodic corrosion or cathodic corrosion.

Limescale inhibition softening agents

Hard water causes the build-up of limescale deposits in pipes, leading to a lower water flow rate and therefore higher pumping and cleaning costs.
Polyphosphates can trap calcium and magnesium. Calcium is the source of limescale formation and can dissolve the compounds formed, which prevents deposits from building up. Depending on the pH of the water, preference will be given to either SHMP (sodium hexametaphosphate) or STPP (sodium tripolyphosphate).

http://www.prayon.com/en/our-activities/products/industrial-applications/water-treatment.php

But the karcher stuff is phosphate free...There may be different chemical systems, I could ask my friend. He used to work with power plants ans he is now in a company that makes water treatment systems for ships. Scale problems with boilers should be pretty analogous to this hot water washer heater - I think.

So, is it possple that karcher pump or boiler materials don't like phosphates? That leaves two more options: Polyelectrolytes and chelatants.
http://www.chemtreat.com/solutions/scale-deposition/

Could it be one of these?


Pekka

Offline awemawson

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2018, 12:40:24 PM »
Yes Pekka, the phosphate free bit was the first thing that struck me.

I've no doubt this stuff will work in the sense that if introduced into the water it will prevent calcium deposits. What I don't know is if it's electrical conductivity will be sufficient to pass enough current between the sensor electrodes that detect an empty tank (no current flow between electrodes). The electronic valve timer module is inhibited if an empty tank is detected.

A quick test will soon show though  :clap:

These inhibitors don't remove existing calcium deposits, so I will probably set it up to recirculate a phosphoric acid solution by letting it suck it's feed water from a (plastic) bucket, and having removed the 0.6 mm nozzle from the lance let it pump back into the bucket.
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline naffsharpe (Nathan)

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2018, 01:44:38 PM »
Andrew, have you thought of using " Bore Saver" from Geoquip in Ipswich ? We've used it for years for cleaning borehole pumps of scale. These pumps have been either landfill or domestic sites. Mike Deeds who owns Geoquip will only sell kit that works.
Nathan.

Offline awemawson

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Re: One for the Chemists - water softening solution.
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2018, 01:52:03 PM »
I'll go do a bit of Googling  :coffee:

Thanks for the link - meanwhile I've been advised that the RM 110 is 'dispatched, so I wait with bated breath
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex