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Why Conductivity is an Important Measurement of Water Quality?

Coffee Establishments must
continuously monitor water quality to ensure that their cups of coffee they’re
selling to their customers is consistently at a high level. Business owners
often forget about electrical conductivity and how it’s a crucial gauge of
water quality. 

Electrical Conductivity refers to
water’s ability to conduct electrical current. Salts or other chemical
dissolved in water can break down into positively and negatively charge ions
which conduct electricity. The water’s conductivity depends on the concentration
of ions. Salinity and total dissolved solids (TDS) are used to calculate the
water’s conductivity, which helps to indicate its purity. The purer the water,
the lower the conductivity. 

Common positively charge ions that
effect waters’ conductivity are sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium

Common negatively charge ions that
effect waters’ conductivity are chloride, sulphates, carbonate and bicarbonate.

Conductivity is messaged by inserting
a probe into a water sample and applying a voltage between electrodes. The
basic unit of conductivity measure is mho/cm, or 1 Siemen, but this does not
occur in natural water.

Typical conductivity of waters:

  • Ultra pure: 5.5 · 10-6 S/m
  • Mains tap water: 0.005-0.5s/m
  • Sea water: 5 S/m

The conductivity of a solution is
highly temperature dependent, so it is important either to use a temperature
compensated instrument, or to calibrate the instrument at the same temperature
as the solution being measured. Conductivity is relative to temperature. The
term “specific conductivity” is used when a value been corrected to reflect the

Conductivity measurement applications
are a versatile tool in process control. They’re simple and fast. The measured
reading can be used to make various assumptions on what is happening in the
process. We know from deployed Hydracs units that:

Low conductivity readings tend to
indicate soft water

High conductivity readings tend to
indicate harder water

Over time conductivity can be used to
understand a typical range of conductivity and enable us to be alerted when
there is a variation from the norm, via the Hydracs platform.  Overtime a
base line is established with variations be alerted to the end user. These
exceptions could indicate drawing to the end of a filter’s life, or a change in
the input water quality.

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