Tag Archives: Water Hardness

Mass Finishing Water & Compounds, Part 1 – Identifying, Correcting Hard and Soft Water Issues

Achieving the desired surface conditions in a mass finishing process requires the machinery, consumables, compounds, and process water to work together in a balanced manner. Independent of the other process elements, the process water itself must be evaluated for hard and soft water issues.

Rosler has more than six decades of experience designing mass finishing machinery, supplying consumables and compounds, and developing processes. Understanding the ramifications of too hard or too soft process water is a key to our success.

Classifications and Measurements

Depending on its geological source, the water used in mass finishing processes may have varying mineral content levels, specifically calcium and magnesium carbonates, bicarbonates, and sulfates. A high amount of mineral content is used to classify the water as “hard”, whereas low mineral content classifies it as “soft”.

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Water Hardness

Calcium () and Magnesium () are the two most common ions that are found in hard water, while iron (Fe2+), Manganese (Mn2) and Aluminium (Al3+) can also contribute to hardness.

Hardness is defined as the sum of the calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) concentrations, both expressed as calcium carbonate in milligrams per litre (mg/l).   Iron (Fe2+), manganese (Mn2+) and Aluminium (Al3+) can also contribute to water hardness.

The water hardness has a significant effect on the performance of compounds. Soft water will cause foam; hard water will increase the compound usage and can cause spots on component parts during drying.

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