Single-Bed Regeneration

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Single-Bed Regeneration
The regeneration of a single-bed ion exchanger is a three-step process. The first step is a backwash, in which water is pumped into the bottom of the ion exchanger and up through the resin. This fluffs the resin and washes out any entrained particles. The backwash water goes out through the normal inlet distributor piping at the top of the tank, but the valves are set to direct the stream to a drain so that the backwashed particles can be pumped to a container for waste disposal.

The second step is the actual regeneration step, which uses an acid solution for cation units and caustic solution for anion units. The concentrated acid or caustic is diluted to approximately 10% with water by opening the dilution water valve, and is then introduced through a distribution system immediately above the resin bed. The regenerating solution flows through the resin and out the bottom of the tank to the waste drain.

The final step is a rinsing process, which removes any excess regenerating solution. Water is pumped into the top of the tank, flows down through the resin bed and out at the bottom drain.

To return the ion exchanger to service, the drain valve is closed, the outlet valve is opened, and the ion exchanger is ready for service. Single-bed demineralizers are usually regenerated "in place." The resins are not pumped out to another location for regeneration. The regeneration process is the same for cation beds and for anion beds; only the regenerating solution is different. It is important to realize that if the ion exchanger has been exposed to radioactive materials, the backwash, regeneration, and rinse solutions may be highly radioactive and must be treated as a radioactive waste.