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Colloids: Extremely small solid particles suspended in a solution such as water. The weight of the individual particle is so low that a true colloid will not settle out, even after standing for an indefinite period. Colloidal particles are thought to have a charge which causes the particles to repel each other, and prevent their agglomeration into larger particles. A colloid diffuses very slowly or not at all through a membrane, and has little, if any, effect upon the freezing point, boiling point, or vapor pressure of the solution.

The silica content of water ranges from a few parts per million in surface supplies to well over 100 ppm in certain well waters.

In water treatment, we are concerned with silica because of its capacity to form scale deposits on surfaces it comes in contact with. In its colloidal form it consists of very fine particles in suspension.

Silica Removal Processes:

  • Filtration
  • Chemical precipitation
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Strong base and ion exchange

Conventional precipitation technologies are messy and time consuming. When complete silica removal is required, various combinations of Reverse Osmosis and ion exchange processes are used. RO systems are currently unable to remove as much silica as ion exchange can but is far better at removing various forms of non-reactive silica and will remove many additional contaminants not addressed by ion exchange.

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Related Articles:

What is a typical concentration for silica (SiO2) or silicates in fresh surface and ground water supplies on earth?
What are silicates and why are they in water?
What are the standards for safe drinking water?


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