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What you need to know
Reflections and Exam tips
Water is the most abundant substance on the Earth’s surface and moves in a continuous cycle (water cycle).
The importance of water
Drinking water is treated by passing water through filter beds to remove solid particles and then adding small amounts of chlorine to kill bacteria.
Domestic water filters contain carbon, silver and ion exchange resins to remove dissolved solids and improve taste and quality.
Some water authorities add other chemicals to drinking water e.g. many add fluoride ions which prevent tooth decay at controlled levels.
Hardness in water is caused by dissolved calcium and/or magnesium ions which enter the water as it passes
over or percolates through rocks containing soluble compounds of calcium or magnesium.
Soft water (which does not contain these ions) forms a lather with soap.
Hard water does not form a lather with soap but forms scum which is an insoluble salt of calcium with the anions in soap (stearate).
Types of hardness
Advantages of hard water
Hard water helps prevent heart disease, provides calcium for healthy bones and teeth, is necessary for
Disadvantages of hard water
Wastes soap (due to scum formation) and forms scale in boilers, pipes and kettles leading to increased costs (reduced efficiency).