Applications for ion exchange have many current forms, and some of these could expand as increased awareness of ion exchange processes continues. In addition, as the field of materials engineering continues to produce an ever-increasing variety of substances, the potential for creating new, useful ion exchange materials grows. Furthermore, the explosive growth in computer power during the last 15 years helps materials engineers work much more efficiently in developing useful compounds. If virtual reality technology materializes as it's proponents profess, materials development could be in for another burst of growth.
The current uses of ion exchange are long and numerous, and although I won't go into all of them here, I would like to point out several important applications. An application that can hit close to home is in the treatment of water for drinking, use (commercial, industrial, and residential), and wastewater treatment. Ion exchangers can soften the water, deionize it, and even be used in desalination. In industrial uses, pure water is often crucial for the successful development of a product. Preparation of various acids, bases, salts, and solutions is also aided by ion exchange. Analytical chemistry uses ion exchange in chromatography. The recovery of valuable metals is also possible with resins. Industrial drying of treatment of gases is accomplished often with ion exchange. The food industry uses ion exchange in a variety of ways, ranging from wine-making to sugar manufacture. In the medical world, dozens of important manifestations of the benfits of ion exchange can be found, from development and preparation of key drugs and antibiotics, such as streptomycin and quinine, to treatments for ulcers, TB, kidneys, and much more. Ion exchange is used to prevent coagulation in blood stores and in dextrose, as well. An ion exchange is also useful in death, as it plays a role in the treatment of formaldehyde.
The list goes on and on, but you get the picture. The list keeps growing with each passing year, as well, so stay tuned for updates on ion exchange applications.
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