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Design Calculation

For Softener Unit

Client :- Techpro
By Samar Seth

About the Paper

I ,as an intern, calculated the ion exchange softener
design for a small sized powerplant of TechPro Inc. in
May 2015, and would like to share the calculations in
the form of this research paper . I have presented the
various entities in the form of an excel sheet, which
can be adjusted and understood with ease. I have
presented the logic lucidly, and would recommend all
readers to go through my articles before attempting to
read this paper . I hope you will gain from this .

Samar Seth

Why Ion Exchange ?

As discussed in my articles, there are essentially two methods of

removing hardness , namely
1. ion exchange and
2.Chemical precpitation methods ( lime and lime soda ash softening ).
So why use ion exchange ? This is because, the level of hardness
content of water required by the client in its power station is
commercial zero i.e. below 5 ppm . After chemical precipitaiton
methods, the general hardness content in the obtained water is
around 100 ppm . Whereas for ion exchange , the soft water has
hardness <5 ppm , which matches with the desired ppm .
Additionally, in ion exchange softener the resin can be regenerated
using chemicals NaCl, which can be obtained cheaply. Whereas in
chemical precipitation methods, lime and soda ash becomes less
feasible due to handling of extra sludge produced in the system ,
hence not used for softening. the soft water has hardness

The Calculations
The client gave a stipulated water flow of 130 m3/hour, requiring 2
softeners , and gave an estimate of 75 ppm as CaCO3 of the feed total
As the softeners required are similar, equal flow of water will enter the
two softeners. So the amount of water flow in each individual will be
130 / 2 =65 m3/hour . Hence, the net flow per softener is 65 m3/hour.
Allowing the plant to run for 22 hours, and leaving 2 spare hours for
regeneration of the cation exchange resin, the output between
regeneration for one softener is the product of the operating hours
and the operating flow, ie 22*65 = 1430 m3 of water .
If the feed water sodium present is 42.36 ppm as CaCO3 , then the
ratio of Na to TC is given by (feed water sodium)/(Feed total hardness
+ Feed water sodium ) , which gives (42.36)/(42.36 + 75 ) = .360941,
i.e. 36 % approx.

Regeneration Logisitcs
For this plant, the resin selected is DUOLITE C-20 Na and the mode
of regeneration is co-flow (C/F), which means that the backwash flow
and operating flow will have the same direction.
The regenerant used in this plant is NaCl , due to its easy availability
and low price .
The regeneration level of salt selected is 150 kg NaCl/m3
based on which the capacity of resin is evaluated as per the
characteristics of the resin used .

Exchange Capacity
The excgange capacity of the regenerant is 69 Kg as
CaCO3/M3, and can be corrected using the five tables given below.

According to this table, the correction factor 1 turns out to be 1,

correction factor 2 due to the feed hardness is equal to 1, similarly
comparing the values of the correponding items with the above table
the correction factor 3 also turns out to be 1.

Whereas for 4 the value is .96, and .9 for correction factor 5

(After comparing with the excel sheet)
The net exchange capacity can be obtained by simply multiplying the
standard exchange value by all five correction factors
i.e. 69*1*1*1*.96*.9= 59.62 Kg as CaCO3

Work Done

The work done is equal to the product of the feed total hardness and
output between regeneration for one softener upon 1000, i.e.
1430*75/1000=107.3 Kg as CaCO3
During design calculations it is important to consider some extra
margin, as a lot of water is wasted during regeneration and hence the
waste water for this design calculation is assumed to be 20 m3.
As there shall be some extra load due to waste water that is being
assumed, the work done by the waste water needs to be added to the
previous value. The load due to the waste water is again the product
of the feed total hardness and output between regeneration
( assumed volume of waste water ) , i.e. 20*75/1000=1.5
Adding this waste water work value to the previously work
value gives 107.3+1.5=108.8 Kg as CaCO3.

Resin Volume
The amount of total resin volume can be calculated by dividing the
work done ( total, including waste water) by the net exchange
capacity, which gives108.8/59.62= 1.82489, i.e. 1.824 m3 approx.

Dimensions of Tank
The required bed height has been assumed as 1.5 metres

The area can be calculated by dividing the resin volume by the above
i.e. 1.824/1.5=1.216m2
From this the diameter of the tank can be calculated by Area= pi*r^2
as the resin vessel is vertical cylindrical type.
Putting the value of area in the above equation and solving for 'r'
gives .624, and as diameter is twice the radius
d=.624*2=1.249 m
Considering some extra margin the diameter of the tank in the power
plant is taken as 1.3 m for convenience.
So, the bed height of the resin will be calculated using the diameter
as 1.3, so it will be pi*[d/2]^2*h= 1.824/(3.14*0.65*0.65)=1.375 m
With the required extra free board space as 80 %, the Height on
straight (HOS) = Bed height*(1+.8)
, i.e. 1.375*(1+0.8)=2.475 m
Leaving some extra space, the HOS provided is 2.6metres

Salt For Regeneration

As mentioned earlier in this paper, salt is used for regenerating the
cation ion exchange resin.
The amount of salt that will be utilized for regeneration depends on
the resin volume and regeneration level
and is given by
Provided Resin Volume*Regeneration Level=150*1.824=273.6 Kg
The salt saturation level in the brine tank is given to be 24%,
so the suggested capacity of brine tank can be calculated as
(Salt Required/Salt concentration)/1.2=950L where 1.2 is the
specific gravity of 24% solution
Thus, the suggested capacity of Brine tank is 950 L.

The provided capacity is 1500 L, to ensure extra margin.

As 1000L=1m3, so 1500L is equal to 1.5 m3
HOS of Brine tank is 1.5 m, so the area of the brine tank is
Volume/HOS of brine tank=1m^2
The diameter is {(1/pi)^1/2}*2=1.19m
and the selected diameter is 1.2 meters

Regeneration Sequence Of
Softener Unit
For one Vessel
Mode of Regneration- Co-flow(C/F)
Area of the Vessel-1.32m2
Regenerant Quantity- 273.6 Kg , 950L of 24%
Brine Solution
Salt Concentration-10%

The backwash flow is given as 12.5 m3/(m2*Hour)=12.5 m/hour, and

the flow rate is defined as the backwash flow* Area of

If the operation time is decided as 10 minutes, then the volume of
water needed for backwash is 16.478*10/60=16.478/6=2.746
Note- The water that is utilized in backwash needs to be

Salt Injection
The volume required for salt injection is defined as the regeneration
quantity/Salt concentration/1000/1.05=2.825 m3 after substituting
appropriate values, the design basis is taken to be 10-12% at 2-8 Bed
Volume/Hour (BV/Hour)
The flow rate considered is the bed volume per hour (2
BV/Hour)*Volume of salt injection=2.825*2=5.65 m3/Hour
and the operation is carried out for 30 minutes...


Filtered water is used in salt injection

Slow Rinse
The slow rinse process is generally carried out to drive out the left
over salt solution in the resin vessel
The volume required is defined as the designated Bed Volume (2
BV/Hour)*Resin Volume provided= 1.824*2=3.648 m3
The flow rate of slow rinse is 3.599 m3/hour, and the time can be
calculated as Slow rinse Volume/Flow rate = 3.648/3.599=1.0136
Multiplying by 60 to get the answer in minutes gives 60.8 minutes


The water used in slow rinse should be filtered

Final Rinse
The final rinse for one softener is equal to the service flow of water
entering one softener which is equal to 65 m3/hour
If it is operated for ten minutes then the volume of water that will be
produced is equal to 65*10/60=10.833 m3
Note- Only filtered water should be used for final rinse
In summation for regeneration sequence the total time is the sum of
the time taken for backwash, salt injection, slow rinse and final rinse,
i.e. 10+30+60.8+10=110.8 minutes and the waste water volume
will be equal to 2.746+2.825+3.955+10.833=20.359 m3

Please refer to the following link for the

excel spreadsheet