How does the Pelican NaturSoft System soften my water?
Optical microscope view of NaturSoft resin showing crystal formation at a 1000X magnification
What is hardness and how does the Natursoft system address it?
The operating principle of NaturSoft
Why does water contain calcium?
Calcium and Carbonic acid balance
Why does scale form?
The Science behind T.I.C.: Pelican NaturSoft's Template Induced Crystallization
Water preferably should be balanced (or in a "saturated") state, which refers to a balanced relationship in the amount of carbonate hardness dissolved in water with the constituent responsible for keeping it in solution, i.e. carbonic acid. Water unfortunately regularly occurs in a state of imbalance, which would be either a state of under saturation or, more commonly, in a state of super saturation. Under-saturation implies a lower mineral content than required to offset the carbonic acid present in the water which results in water whose properties include the propensity to corrode plumbing systems. Conversely, super saturation implies an excess of minerals which results in water which has an elevated propensity to form scale.
For the most part, our tap water is at least slightly super-saturated with calcium. Depending on the plumbing material used (i.e. copper, PVC etc.) this leads to the formation of scale deposits sooner or later - even in the cold water systems. However, since heating water increases the scale potential of water, the formation of scale is a particular problem in water heaters, hot water lines and hot water using appliances.
So, how does NaturSoft help? NaturSoft when applied in the treatment of water reduces the elevated scale potential and moves the water chemistry from a state of imbalance towards balance. It does so by promoting the creation of microscopic mineral crystals. The creation of such solid crystals removes the excess minerals from solution in the water and thus helps to restore water balance. After they are created in the conditioning system, these microscopic crystals flow in suspension throughout the plumbing system ready to integrate additional minerals if the scale potential of the water is increased due to heating or other reasons. That said, solid mineral crystals do not form spontaneously other than in extreme super saturation states. The specially designed surface on the NaturSoft media includes templates that induce or assist the formation of these crystals at far lower saturation levels than would otherwise be required.
Put in another way, the Pelican NaturSoft Template Induced Crystallization Media is designed to lower the threshold required to form those crystals. Essentially, the presence of T.I.C. media in your water allows the water to begin forming those calcium carbonate crystals without having the extreme saturation that is normally required. The crystals form on the surface of our media where the atoms arrange themselves in accordance with the template provided. The template chosen is deliberately selected to form a crystal structure that is able to absorb minerals readily, yet is stable enough not to attach itself to plumbing surfaces.
Several hundred calcium carbonate crystal structures are known to occur in nature. Even though they all have the same chemical composition, they are distinguished by slightly different arrangements of the atoms in their structure. The two most commonly known structures are Calcite and Aragonite.
The template on the Pelican NaturSoft media is created to induce the calcium to readily attach itself to the matrix. The particular template is chosen to create crystals of a structure that favors ready growth in rising saturation states.
The crystals that are created by the media then are carried downstream in the water where serve as templates (i.e. seed crystals) themselves promoting the creation of further seed crystals if conditions require. As such, the seed crystals perform the same function as the media itself. This effect is most beneficial when you get to your water heater. When heated the waters scale potential increases and the seed crystals absorb the additional calcium that would otherwise form scale.
By keeping the minerals in the water we keep the water balanced and as close to nature's soft water as nature intended.