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An ion exchange resin is usually a polystyrene polymer that can exchange ions of opposite character from an aqueous medium. The beads are porous and has large surface areas with a large number of ionic sites which can be used to trap ions whilst exchanging them for other ions. Most of the resins are crosslinked with divinyl benzene which increases the strength of the beads but decreases the ion exchange capacity. Particle size also influence the exchange capacity as smaller beads have a higher surface area but this increases the overall head loss.
The resin itself is composed of organic polymers that form a network of hydrocarbons. Throughout the polymer matrix are ion exchange sites, where so-called “functional groups” of either positively-charged ions (cations) or negatively-charged ions (anions) are affixed to the polymer network. These functional groups readily attract ions of an opposing charge.
Ion exchange resin
Strong acid cation resins are usually polystyrene based resins with sulfonic acid groups (-SO3H) as the functional group. Strong acid cation resins are available in two forms: the hydrogen form – RSO3H or sodium form RSO3Na.
Purolite® manufactures two types of weak base anion ion exchange resins: