Is Distilled Water the Same as Purified Water?

With so many different types of water available in the market, it can be confusing to know which one to choose. Two commonly used terms are “distilled water” and “purified water.” Do many people assume that these terms are interchangeable, but are they really the same thing?

Underneath, we will extensively look at distilled water, other types of purified water, and their distinct characteristics.

Figure 1 Purified water

What is Purified Water?

Purified water refers to water that has undergone a process to remove impurities and contaminants, such as minerals, chemicals, and microorganisms. The purification process can involve different techniques, such as distillation, reverse osmosis, deionization, and filtration.

The resulting purified water is typically free from taste, odor, and color, and may be used for a variety of purposes, such as drinking, cooking, and manufacturing.

Features of Distilled Water

To create distilled water, water is heated to a high temperature and then the steam is condensed back. The pollutants and minerals are removed from the water during this process, leaving it clean and contaminant-free. Below are some characteristics of distilled water:

● Purity

Water that has been distilled is pure and devoid of any contaminants that may be found in most water sources.

● Neutral pH

Distilled water has a neutral pH of 7.0, which means it is neither acidic nor alkaline.

● Lack of Minerals

Distillation removes all minerals from the water, including beneficial ones like calcium and magnesium, which can be important for health.

● No Taste or Odor

Distilled water has no taste or odor, as all impurities and minerals that can contribute to these qualities are removed.

● Low Conductivity

Due to its lack of minerals, distilled water has low electrical conductivity, which can make it useful in some scientific and industrial applications.

Common Water Purification Technologies

1. Reverse Osmosis

By applying pressure to the water, the Reverse Osmosis (RO) method of water filtration eliminates ions, molecules, and other particles. Pollutants like salts and minerals are left behind when water is passed across a semi-permeable membrane that only permits water molecules to pass through.

The quality of water generated by reverse osmosis is generally high, with a removal rate of up to 99% of dissolved solids and contaminants. The procedure, nevertheless, also has the potential to remove healthy elements from the water, such as calcium and magnesium, which are crucial for human health.

Figure 2 RO water purification system

2. Ion Exchange

Water is cleaned via the ion exchange process, which eliminates contaminants by utilizing ion exchange resins. During the procedure, water is transported over a resin bed that contains charged ions that attract and exchange ions with the contaminants in the water. The ion exchange process is widely used to remove contaminants and hardness-contributing ions such as heavy metals and magnesium, as well as other ions and pollutants.

Ion exchange often produces water of high quality, with up to 99% of the targeted pollutants removed. Unfortunately, not all pollutants are eliminated by the process, and certain ions can still be present in the water.

3. UV Sterilization

UV sterilization is a method of water purification that eliminates bacteria, viruses, and other microbes in water by using ultraviolet radiation. UV light is used in the process to harm the DNA of the microorganisms, preventing them from reproducing and resulting in their eradication. With a 99.99% eradication rate of germs and viruses, UV sterilization normally produces water of good quality. Unfortunately, additional contaminants like dissolved solids and heavy metals are not eliminated by the procedure. Additionally, the water must first go through a pre-filter to get rid of any particles before receiving the UV treatment.

4. Media Filtration

Media filtration is a method of water purification that eliminates impurities from water by using a variety of media, including sand, gravel, and activated carbon. Water is filtered by flowing through a media bed that captures debris and pollutants while letting clean water pass through. The type of media employed and the degree of filtration affect the quality of water produced by media filtration. In general, media filtration can eliminate chlorine, organic compounds, and particles from water, but it might not be able to get rid of dissolved solids and heavy metals.

How to Measure Water Purity Levels?

● Conductivity Measurement

This method measures the electrical conductivity of water. Pure water does not conduct electricity, but water with dissolved ions, such as salts, will conduct electricity. Conductivity meters can measure the total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water, which is a measure of water purity.

● Turbidity Measurement

This method measures the clarity of the water. Turbid water contains suspended particles that scatter light, making the water appear cloudy. Turbidity meters measure the amount of light that is scattered by the particles in the water and can indicate water purity.

● pH Measurement

The pH of water is a measure of its acidity or alkalinity. Pure water has a pH of 7, which is neutral. Acidic water has a pH value of under 7, and alkaline water has a pH value of over 7. pH meters can measure the pH of the water and can indicate water purity.

● Total Organic Carbon (TOC) Measurement

Using this technique, the water’s organic carbon content is measured. Organic carbon is a measure of the amount of organic matter present in the water, which can indicate the presence of contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.

● Chemical Analysis

Chemical analysis can be used to measure the levels of specific contaminants in water, such as heavy metals, pesticides, and other chemicals. This method involves collecting water samples and sending them to a laboratory for analysis.

Figure 3 Water distillation system

Common Applications of Distilled Water

● Medical and Laboratory Use

Distilled water is commonly used in medical and laboratory settings for sterilization, testing, and other procedures that require pure water.

● Automotive and Battery Maintenance

Distilled water is used in car batteries and radiators to prevent mineral buildup and corrosion.

● Humidifiers and Steam Irons

Distilled water is recommended for use in humidifiers and steam irons to prevent mineral buildup that can clog the devices.

● Aquariums

Distilled water can be used to top off or replace the water in aquariums to avoid introducing impurities that could harm the fish and other aquatic life.

● Cleaning

Distilled water can be used in cleaning solutions and in steam cleaners to avoid leaving mineral deposits behind.

● Cosmetic and Personal Care Products

Distilled water is often used as an ingredient in cosmetic and personal care products, such as shampoos, soaps, and lotions.

● Brewing and Winemaking

Distilled water is commonly used in brewing and winemaking to ensure consistency and avoid contamination.

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