Crosslink Your Way To Stronger Softener ResinBy: Michael Urbans
Do you know the crosslinking strength of the cation softener resin you are installing?
- Has the softener resin turned to gooey mush?
- Are there tiny fractured beads?
- Have you seen resin beds lose over half of their original depth?
If yes, then you have been a victim of de-crosslinking and resin oxidation. But there’s hope! Not all cation resins are made the same.
Here’s the scoop:
Cation resin is made with a polymer (a fancy plastic). The polymer is what gives the resin bead its structural integrity which is called crosslinking.
- Softener resins are available in 6%, 8%, 10% and 15% crosslinking. The higher the crosslinking the “stronger” the resin.
- Manufacturers typically don’t list the percentage on the bags, so don’t run out to the warehouse and check. Some include it in the part number. For example, Aldex C-800 and ResinTech CG-8 are 8% crosslink. ResinTech CG-10 is 10% and so is Purolite C100X10. Thermax part numbers don’t indicate – T42 = 8%; T52 = 10%. (Everybody knows that. HA HA.)
- 8% is the industry standard. 6% crosslinked softener resin is less costly and suitable for use in residential well or non-chlorinated water. So be careful. That el cheapo resin may only be 6%.
Freshly regenerated resin beads swell. Exhausted beads contract. Lower cross linked resins have higher moisture content. In the presence of chlorine, resins with higher moisture are more prone to fracture because of the swell/contraction of the regeneration cycle. The increased moisture allows chlorine to migrate deeper into the bead and over time the resin breaks down and turns to mush. Higher crosslinked resins are more durable and last longer.
Benefits of higher crosslinked softener resins:
- Higher capacity
- Withstands high frequency regenerations
- More chlorine tolerant
- Can operate at higher temperatures in the presence of oxidants (chlorine, chloramine)
Chlorine is the enemy of ALL ion exchange resins and should be eliminated. But if you can’t, consider a 10% crosslinked resin. I mentioned a 15% resin. 15% resins are Macroporous. They are mostly used in specialized industrial applications and can cost 2-3x as much as 8% resin. If you need the Army Tank of Cation resin, consider a 15%.
To conclude, if you have a non-chlorinated well water and just want to remove some hardness, a 6% will last for years. However, for just a few bucks more, consider standardizing on 8% resin. But wait, there’s more! For a few dollars more, you can buy a 10% resin. A 10% softener resin will give you a slightly higher capacity and be the most chlorine tolerant.
Urbans Aqua stocks both 8% and 10% softener resin. It may be time for a resin upgrade. Call us!
Learn more on the Urbans Aqua website: Ion Exchange Resins
For more information about Ion Exchange download this WQA Fact Sheet – Ion Exchange