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Distinguish Between Softening Resins: Physical Characteristics

Dear Sir,

I want to know the method for distinguishing physically a Sodium base Softening Resin from  Hydrogen base Cation Resin.


Vipul Kumar Gupta




Dear Mr.Gupta,

I am a water management consultant and one of the resources on indiawaterportal.Your question has been sent to me for an answer.

Resin used in a softener(sodium base exchange process) and demineralisation process(cation exchange process) is usually the same.The resin as manufactured is available in the strongly acidic cation form.It is converted into the Sodium form for use in softeners.

Once the resin is used in softening inside a softener it is regenerated with salt(sodium chloride) and when used in a DM plant, Hydrochloric acid is the regenerant.

Resin manufacturers manufacture resin used for softeners with some small changes in specifications which allows them to price them lower than resin used in the cation unit of a DM plant.

If you have a specific problem, mail it to me and I will help you.


Water Management Consultant, Bangalore


Dear Vipin,

I wish if it were indeed that simple. Remember that resin grain size by different manufacturers shall be different as well as the color shade of the same. The best way of differentiating them is to take resin in a cloth and pass water through it. If the water turns acidic, you have passed it through Hydrogen base cation resin. If not, the resin shall be sodium based softener resin.

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