Silver-containing Cation Exchange Resin: Synthesis and Application




cationite, water hardness, silver nanoparticle, ion-exchange, water softening


Cation exchange resins are widely used for water softening and demineralization all over the world. Deposition, metabolism, and growth of bacteria and fungi on the resin beads cause capacity and performance losses, especially during repeated use in cyclic and long-term operations. Over the last decades, modification of different materials by silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) has demonstrated to present significant opportunities in mitigating biofouling problems. The paper deals with a novel facile technique of introducing silver colloids (AgC) into cation exchange resin, providing the formation of silver micro- and nano-inclusions on the cation resin beads. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) measurements have confirmed a spherical shape and uniform distribution of AgC (50  1000 nm) on the surface of the resin. To evaluate the antibacterial and fungicidal properties of AgC on the cation resin beads, we have used Aureobasidium sp., Penicillium sp., and Staphylococcus aureus cultures. AgC coating has proved to efficiently prevent bacteria/biofilm growth on the cation resin beads and thereby significantly increase the service life of the cation exchange resin, especially in hot climatic conditions. Possible antibiofouling mechanisms of the modified nanocomposite cationite have been discussed. Since 2020, the modified silver-containing cationite has been successfully utilized for water softening systems of boiler equipment in Uzbekistan, demonstrating the suitability of the suggested facile coating technique for reducing fouling of cation-exchange resin.