Soft water the term used to describe types of water that contain few or no calcium or magnesium metal cations. The term is usually related to hard water, which does contain significant amounts of these ions.
There are water-softening devices used in households and by industry to remove the hardness causing minerals from Hard Water to create artificially Soft Water. Typically such devices exchange the calcium and magnesium ions in the hard water for sodium ions (ion exchange), or remove most of the soluble species in the water to produce water with little or no mineral content, (de-ionisation).
The main benefit of this artificially softened water is that the build-up of solid minerals,( eg calcium carbonate), in pipe work and on heated surfaces such as in boilers, immersion heaters or hot water cylinders, is controlled or even eliminated. However, softened water tends to be more corrosive to metals such as steel and zinc because these mineral deposits do not form and protect the corroding metal surfaces.
Water softened by sodium ion exchange will have a higher sodium ion content than the natural water it was derived from.Template:Watersupply-stub
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