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 temperature.

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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