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Purifying water with electric fields

  1. Jan 28, 2010 #1
    I'm an HVAC engineer and my company has tasked me with researching a variety of water treatment products (for cooling towers). One of which is Dolphin Water Care (http://www.dolphinwatercare.com/Index.aspx)

    The technology seems a little fishy to me, so I wanted to see if anyone could tell me whether or not the physics even makes sense. Basically the goal is to prevent CaCO3 from coming out of solution and depositing onto pipes. This is how is supposedly works:

    1. Water passes through an electric field.
    2. The electric field strips particles (doesn't say what they are exactly) of their static charge.
    3. CaCO3 precipitates onto the stripped particles instead of onto pipes.

    So they don't prevent the CaCO3 from precipitating, but they keep it flowing in the water. Eventually the water flows into a large vat. At that point, everything settles to the bottom and you can just clean it out.

    Can you even use an electric field to strip particles of their static charge? And even if you can, can you strip these "particles" of their static charge without stripping the CaCO3 of its static charge? I'm assuming they would just repel each other if they were both stripped of their static charge.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2010 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I'm an HVAC engineer too and I've seen this before and had a similar doubt, but never went too deep into it. I went to a sales presentation (at a go-kart track!) for these guys: http://www.enecon.com/products/eneflow_01.asp [Broken]

    And a google comes up with a site suggesting the concept is psuedoscience: http://www.chem1.com/CQ/magscams.html

    I didn't see a need to use it anywhere, so I didn't try to learn the chemistry, but maybe someone with more chemistry background will chime in...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Jan 28, 2010 #3
    Man, I'm usually such a good googler. That site you mentioned is great! By far the best info I've seen, and I've been searching forever.

    Definitely more confident that this stuff is bogus. But like the author says, I'm surprised that this stuff hasn't been completely settled (or at least settled and easy to find). Maybe I'll have to talk to some people at the government and see if I can get some actual data.

    BTW, those are some amazing photos you have on your website. I didn't know it was possible to take such good photos as a hobbyist.
  5. Jan 29, 2010 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    I was a star on my high school Google team. I always thought I had a shot at the majors before blowing out my knee....sad story for another time....

    I'm curious enough about this subject maybe I'll look into it further tomorrow.

    Thanks for the compliments on my website. It hasn't been updated in about a year and I've since gotten a new planetary camera, so my new pics blow those out of the water (wasn't a good year for the deep space stuff though...). Here's Mars from last week, in our astrophotography thread: https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=2539921&postcount=283
  6. Jan 29, 2010 #5
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
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