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What is a Brine?

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Brine, also called saltwater, specifically a highly concentrated water solution of the common salt (otherwise sodium chloride). Natural brines take place underground, in seawater, or as salt lakes and are commercially essential sources of the common salt and other salts, such as sulfates and chlorides of potassium and magnesium.

About Brine

Brine naturally takes place on the surface of the crust, the Earth (in the salt lakes), within brine pools on the ocean bottom. Typically, a high-concentrated brine lake emerges because of the evaporation of ground saline water at high ambient temperatures. Brine can be used for cooking (pickling and brining) and food processing, for de-icing of roads and many other structures, and in several technological processes. It is also considered as a byproduct of several industrial processes, such as desalination, and can pose an environmental risk because of its toxic and corrosive effects; hence it needs wastewater treatment for proper disposal or further utilization like the freshwater recovery.

Brine in Nature

Saline water has a relatively high concentration of salt (which is usually sodium chloride) that takes place naturally on the crust, the surface of the Earth (salt lakes), and within the brine pools on the bottom of the ocean.

There exists a number of processes that can produce brines in nature. Seawater modification via evaporation results in the concentration of salts in the residual fluid; a characteristic geologic deposit known as evaporite can be produced as different dissolved ions reach the saturation states of minerals, typically halite and gypsum. The same process takes place at high latitudes as seawater, and it freezes, resulting in a fluid termed a cryogenic brine. At the formation time, these cryogenic brines are by definition cooler compared to the freezing temperature of seawater and can also produce a feature known as brinicle, where cool brines descend by freezing the surrounding seawater.

The brine cropping out at saltwater surface springs are called "salines" or "licks." The contents of the dissolved solids present in groundwater vary highly from one to another location on the Earth, both in terms of specific constituents (for example, anhydrite, halite, gypsum, carbonates, organic halides, sulfate-salts, and fluoride-salts) and concerning the concentration level. Using one of many classifications of groundwater depending on the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), brine is the water having more than 100,000 mg/L TDS. Commonly, brine can be produced during well-completion operations, especially after the hydraulic fracturing of a well.


Refrigerating Fluid

Brine can be used as a secondary fluid in large refrigeration installations for the purpose of thermal energy transport from one place to another. Most commonly used brines are depending on inexpensive sodium chloride and calcium chloride. It can be used because the addition of salt to water lowers the solution's freezing temperature, and the heat transport efficiency is greatly enhanced for the comparatively material's low cost. The lowest freezing point obtainable for the NaCl brine is given as −21.1 °C at the concentration of 23.3% NaCl compound by weight. This is known as the eutectic point.

Due to the corrosive properties of salt-based brines, glycols such as polyethylene glycol can become more common for this purpose.

Sodium chloride brine spray can be used on a few fishing vessels to freeze the fishes. Generally, the brine temperature is given as −21 °C. At the same time, the air blast freezing temperatures are given as −35 °C or lower. At the higher brine temperature, the system efficiency over the air blast freezing may become higher. And usually, the high-value fish are frozen at lower temperatures, below the brine's practical temperature limit.

Water Softening and Purification

In water softening and water purification systems, bine is an auxiliary agent involved in the technology of ion exchange. The most common example is given as household dishwashers, utilizing the sodium chloride compound in the form of dishwasher salt. Brine is not involved in the process of purification itself, but it is used for the regeneration of ion-exchange resin on a cyclical basis. The water is handled by passing it into a resin jar until the resin is drained and the water is filtered to the appropriate amount.

The resin is then regenerated in stages, beginning by backwashing the resin bed to dissolve accumulated solids, followed by flushing the extracted ions from the resin with a concentrated solution of substitute ions, and finally rinsing the flushing solution from the resin. After treatment, the ion-exchange resin beads saturated with magnesium and calcium ions from the treated water are regenerated by soaking in brine, which contains ranges from 6 to 12% of NaCl. The sodium ions from the brine can replace the magnesium and calcium ions on the beads.


In lower temperatures, a brine solution is used to reduce or de-ice the freezing temperatures on roads.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Explain the Wastewater Usage of Brine?

Answer: Brine is a byproduct of several industrial processes, such as desalination for irrigation and human consumption, power plant cooling towers, produced water from natural gas and oil extraction, reverse osmosis reject, acid rock or acid mine drainage, Chlor-alkali wastewater treatment, paper, and pulp mill effluent, and the waste streams from the processing of food and beverage. Along with diluted salts, it can have residues of cleaning and pretreatment of the chemicals, their reaction byproducts, and heavy metals because of the corrosion.

Wastewater brine can pose an important environmental hazard, both because of sediment and corrosive-forming effects of toxicity and salts of other chemicals diluted in it. It should be properly disposed of, which can require compliance and permits with environmental regulations.

2. Explain the Culinary Usage of Brine?

Answer: Brine is one of the common agents in cooking and food processing. Brining can be used to season or preserve the food and can be applied to cheeses, vegetables, and fruit in a process called pickling. Typically, fish and meat are steeped in brine for shorter time periods as a form of marination by enhancing its flavor and tenderness or to enhance the shelf period.

3. Give Some Polluted Brine Treatment Technologies?

Answer: Ion exchange processes such as weak acid cation or electrodialysis exchange; membrane filtration processes, such as forward osmosis and reverse osmosis.

4. Give the Simple Way of Unpolluted Brine Disposing of?

The easiest way to dispose of unpolluted brine from desalination cooling towers and plants is to return it to the ocean.