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Brine is a high-concentration
solution Making a NaCl)_in_water.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Salt">table salt (sodium chloride">NaCl) in water">Salt">table salt (sodium chloride">NaCl) in water. The salt is the solute and the water the solve ...
of
salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of salts; salt in its natural form as a crystalline mineral is known as rock salt or halite. Salt is present in vast quantities ...
(NaCl) in
water Water is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a solvent). It is vita ...
(H2O). In different contexts, ''brine'' may refer to salt solutions ranging from about 3.5% (a typical concentration of
seawater Seawater, or salt water, is water from a sea or ocean. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5% (35 g/l, 35 ppt, 599 mM). This means that every kilogram (roughly one liter by volume) of seawater has approxim ...
, on the lower end of solutions used for
brining In food processing, brining is treating food with brine or coarse salt which preserves and seasons the food while enhancing tenderness and flavor with additions such as herbs, spices, sugar, caramel and/or vinegar. Meat and fish are typically brined ...
foods) up to about 26% (a typical
saturated solution Solubility is the property of a solid, liquid or gaseous chemical substance called ''solute'' to dissolve in a solid, liquid or gaseous solvent. The solubility of a substance fundamentally depends on the physical and chemical properties of the ...
, depending on temperature). Lower levels of concentration are called by different names:
fresh water Fresh water (or freshwater) is any naturally occurring water except seawater and brackish water. Fresh water is generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts and other total dissolved solids. Though the term specifical ...
,
brackish water Brackish water, also sometimes termed brack water, is water occurring in a natural environment having more salinity than freshwater, but not as much as seawater. It may result from mixing seawater (salt water) with fresh water together, as in estu ...
, and
saline water Saline water (more commonly known as salt water) is water that contains a high concentration of dissolved salts (mainly sodium chloride). The salt concentration is usually expressed in parts per thousand (permille, ‰) or parts per million (ppm) ...
. Brine naturally occurs on the Earth's surface (
salt lake A salt lake or saline lake is a landlocked body of water that has a concentration of salts (typically sodium chloride) and other dissolved minerals significantly higher than most lakes (often defined as at least three grams of salt per litre). ...
s), crust, and within
brine pool A brine pool, sometimes called an underwater, a deepwater lake, or a brine lake, is a volume of brine collected in a seafloor depression. The pools are dense bodies of water that have a salinity that is three to eight times greater than the surr ...

brine pool
s on ocean bottom. High-concentration brine lakes typically emerge due to
evaporation 280px, Demonstration of evaporative cooling. When the sensor is dipped in ethanol and then taken out to evaporate, the instrument shows progressively lower temperature as the ethanol evaporates. Evaporation is a type of vaporization that occurs ...
of ground saline water on high ambient temperatures. Brine is used for food processing and cooking (
pickling Pickling is the process of preserving or extending the shelf life of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. The pickling procedure typically affects the food's texture, taste and flavor. The resulting food is cal ...
and
brining In food processing, brining is treating food with brine or coarse salt which preserves and seasons the food while enhancing tenderness and flavor with additions such as herbs, spices, sugar, caramel and/or vinegar. Meat and fish are typically brined ...
), for
de-icing De-icing is the process of removing snow, ice or frost from a surface. Anti-icing is understood to be the application of chemicals that not only de-ice but also remain on a surface and continue to delay the reformation of ice for a certain period ...
of roads and other structures, and in a number of technological processes. It is also a by-product of many
industrial process Industrial processes are procedures involving chemical, physical, electrical or mechanical steps to aid in the manufacturing of an item or items, usually carried out on a very large scale. Industrial processes are the key components of heavy indus ...
es, such as
desalination Desalination is a process that takes away mineral components from saline water. More generally, desalination refers to the removal of salts and minerals from a target substance, as in soil desalination, which is an issue for agriculture. Saltwat ...
, and may pose an environmental risk due to its corrosive and toxic effects, so it requires
wastewater treatment Wastewater treatment is a process used to remove contaminants from wastewater or sewage and convert it into an effluent that can be returned to the water cycle with acceptable impact on the environment, or reused for various purposes (called water ...

wastewater treatment
for proper disposal or further utilization (
fresh water Fresh water (or freshwater) is any naturally occurring water except seawater and brackish water. Fresh water is generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts and other total dissolved solids. Though the term specifical ...
recovery).


In nature

Saline water Saline water (more commonly known as salt water) is water that contains a high concentration of dissolved salts (mainly sodium chloride). The salt concentration is usually expressed in parts per thousand (permille, ‰) or parts per million (ppm) ...
with relatively high concentration of salt (usually
sodium chloride Sodium chloride , commonly known as salt (although sea salt also contains other chemical salts), is an ionic compound with the chemical formula NaCl, representing a 1:1 ratio of sodium and chloride ions. With molar masses of 22.99 and 35.45 g/m ...
) occurs naturally on Earth's surface (
salt lake A salt lake or saline lake is a landlocked body of water that has a concentration of salts (typically sodium chloride) and other dissolved minerals significantly higher than most lakes (often defined as at least three grams of salt per litre). ...
s), crust, and within
brine pool A brine pool, sometimes called an underwater, a deepwater lake, or a brine lake, is a volume of brine collected in a seafloor depression. The pools are dense bodies of water that have a salinity that is three to eight times greater than the surr ...

brine pool
s on ocean bottom. Numerous processes exist which can produce brines in nature. Modification of seawater via evaporation results in the concentration of salts in the residual fluid, a characteristic geologic deposit called an
evaporite evaporated from the Dead Sea, Israel Evaporite () is the term for a water-soluble mineral sediment that results from concentration and crystallization by evaporation from an aqueous solution.Jackson, Julia A., 1997, Glossary of Geology 4th editi ...
is formed as different dissolved ions reach the saturation states of minerals, typically
gypsum Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula . It is widely mined and is used as a fertilizer and as the main constituent in many forms of plaster, blackboard/sidewalk chalk, and drywall. A ma ...
and
halite Halite ( or ), commonly known as rock salt, is a type of salt, the mineral (natural) form of sodium chloride (Na Cl). Halite forms isometric crystals. The mineral is typically colorless or white, but may also be light blue, dark blue, purple, p ...
. A similar process occurs at high latitudes as seawater freezes resulting in a fluid termed a cryogenic brine. At the time of formation, these cryogenic brines are by definition cooler than the freezing temperature of seawater and can produce a feature called a
brinicle A brinicle (brine icicle, also known as ice stalactite) is a downward-growing hollow tube of ice enclosing a plume of descending brine that is formed beneath developing sea ice. As seawater freezes in the polar ocean salt brine concentrates are exp ...
where cool brines descend, freezing the surrounding seawater. The brine cropping out at the surface as saltwater springs are known as "licks" or "salines". The contents of dissolved solids in
groundwater Groundwater is the water present beneath Earth's surface in rock and soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The de ...
vary highly from one location to another on Earth, both in terms of specific constituents (e.g. halite,
anhydrite Anhydrite, or anhydrous calcium sulfate, is a mineral with the chemical formula CaSO4. It is in the orthorhombic crystal system, with three directions of perfect cleavage parallel to the three planes of symmetry. It is not isomorphous with the ort ...

anhydrite
,
carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt of carbonic acid (H2CO3), characterized by the presence of the carbonate ion, a polyatomic ion with the formula of . The name may also refer to a carbonate ester, an organic compound containing the carbonate g ...
s, gypsum,
fluoride Fluoride (). According to this source, is a possible pronunciation in British English. is an inorganic, monatomic anion with the chemical formula (also written ), whose salts are typically white or colorless. Fluoride salts typically have dist ...
-salts,
organic halideHalocarbon compounds are chemicals in which one or more carbon atoms are linked by covalent bonds with one or more halogen atoms (fluorine, chlorine, bromine or iodine – ) resulting in the formation of organofluorine compounds, organochlorine ...
s, and
sulfate The sulfate or sulphate ion is a polyatomic anion with the empirical formula . Salts, acid derivatives, and peroxides of sulfate are widely used in industry. Sulfates occur widely in everyday life. Sulfates are salts of sulfuric acid and many are ...
-salts) and regarding the concentration level. Using one of several classification of groundwater based on
total dissolved solids Total dissolved solids (TDS) is a measure of the dissolved combined content of all inorganic and organic substances present in a liquid in molecular, ionized, or micro-granular (colloidal sol) suspended form. TDS concentrations are often reported i ...
(TDS), brine is water containing more than 100,000 mg/L TDS. Brine is commonly produced during well completion operations, particularly after the
hydraulic fracturing#REDIRECT Hydraulic fracturing {{R from other capitalisation ...
of a well.


Uses


Culinary

Brine is a common agent in
food processing Food processing is the transformation of agricultural products into food, or of one form of food into other forms. Food processing includes many forms of processing foods, from grinding grain to make raw flour to home cooking to complex industri ...
and cooking. Brining is used to preserve or
season A season is a division of the year based on changes in weather, ecology, and the number of daylight hours in a given region. On Earth, seasons are the result of Earth's orbit around the Sun and Earth's axial tilt relative to the ecliptic plane. In ...

season
the food. Brining can be applied to
vegetable Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still commonly used and is applied to plants collectively to refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems, l ...
s,
cheese Cheese is a dairy product, derived from milk and produced in wide ranges of flavors, textures and forms by coagulation of the milk protein casein. It comprises proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. Du ...

cheese
s and
fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which angiosperms disseminate seeds. Edible fruits, in particular, have propagated ...
in a process known as
pickling Pickling is the process of preserving or extending the shelf life of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. The pickling procedure typically affects the food's texture, taste and flavor. The resulting food is cal ...
.
Meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domestication of animals such as chickens, sheep, rabbits, pigs and cattle. This eventu ...
and
fish Fish are aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack limbs with digits. They form a sister group to the tunicates, together forming the olfactores. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony ...
are typically
steeped Steeping is the soaking in liquid (usually water) of a solid, usually so as to extract flavours or to soften it. The specific process of teas being prepared for drinking by leaving the leaves in heated water to release the flavour and nutrients is ...
in brine for shorter periods of time, as a form of
marination Marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. The origin of the word alludes to the use of brine (''aqua marina'') in the pickling process, which led to the technique of adding flavor by immersion in ...
, enhancing its
tenderness Tenderness may refer to: Films * ''Tenderness'' (2009 film), a 2009 American crime film * ''Tenderness'' (2017 film), a 2017 Italian film also known as ''La tenerezza'' Medicine * Rebound tenderness, a clinical sign that a doctor may detect in ph ...
and
flavor Flavor (American English), flavour (British English; see spelling differences), or taste is the perceptual impression of food or other substances, and is determined primarily by the chemical senses of the gustatory and olfactory system. The "trig ...
, or to enhance shelf period.


Chlorine production

Elemental chlorine can be produced by
electrolysis In chemistry and manufacturing, electrolysis is a technique that uses direct electric current (DC) to drive an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction. Electrolysis is commercially important as a stage in the separation of elements from natur ...

electrolysis
of brine (
NaCl Sodium chloride , commonly known as salt (although sea salt also contains other chemical salts), is an ionic compound with the chemical formula NaCl, representing a 1:1 ratio of sodium and chloride ions. With molar masses of 22.99 and 35.45 g/m ...

NaCl
solution). This process also produces
sodium hydroxide#REDIRECT Sodium hydroxide#REDIRECT Sodium hydroxide {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
(NaOH) and
Hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1. With a standard atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest element in the periodic table. Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, constitut ...

Hydrogen
gas (H2). The reaction equations are as follows: * Cathode: 2 H+ + 2 e- -> H2 (^) * Anode: 2 Cl- -> Cl2 (^) + 2 e- * Overall process: 2 NaCl + 2 H2O -> Cl2 + H2 + 2 NaOH


Refrigerating fluid

Brine is used as a secondary
fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external force. Fluids are a phase of matter and include liquids, gases and plasmas. They are substances with zero shear modulus, or, in simpl ...
in large refrigeration installations for the transport of
thermal energy Thermal radiation in visible light can be seen on this hot metalwork. Thermal energy refers to several distinct physical concepts, such as the internal energy of a system; heat or sensible heat, which are defined as types of energy transfer (as is ...
from place to place. Most commonly used brines are based on inexpensive
calcium chloride Calcium chloride is an inorganic compound, a salt with the chemical formula CaCl2. It is a white coloured crystalline solid at room temperature, and it is highly soluble in water. It can be created by neutralising hydrochloric acid with calcium h ...
and
sodium chloride Sodium chloride , commonly known as salt (although sea salt also contains other chemical salts), is an ionic compound with the chemical formula NaCl, representing a 1:1 ratio of sodium and chloride ions. With molar masses of 22.99 and 35.45 g/m ...
. It is used because the addition of salt to water lowers the freezing temperature of the solution and the heat transport efficiency can be greatly enhanced for the comparatively low cost of the material. The lowest freezing point obtainable for NaCl brine is at the concentration of 23.3% NaCl by weight. This is called the eutectic point. Because of the corrosive properties of salt-based brines,
glycols, a simple diol A diol is a chemical compound containing two hydroxyl groups (−OH groups). An aliphatic diol is also called a glycol. This pairing of functional groups is pervasive, and many subcategories have been identified. The most common ind ...
such as
polyethylene glycol Polyethylene glycol (PEG; ) is a polyether compound derived from petroleum with many applications, from industrial manufacturing to medicine. PEG is also known as polyethylene oxide (PEO) or polyoxyethylene (POE), depending on its molecular wei ...
have become more common for this purpose. Sodium chloride brine spray is used on some fishing vessels to freeze fish. The brine temperature is generally . Air blast freezing temperatures are or lower. Given the higher temperature of brine, the system efficiency over air blast freezing can be higher. High-value fish usually are frozen at much lower temperatures, below the practical temperature limit for brine.


Water softening and purification

Brine is an auxiliary agent in
water softening Water softening is the removal of calcium, magnesium, and certain other metal cations in hard water. The resulting soft water requires less soap for the same cleaning effort, as soap is not wasted bonding with calcium ions. Soft water also extends ...
and
water purification Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids, and gases from water. The goal is to produce water fit for specific purposes. Most water is purified and disinfected for human consum ...
systems involving
ion exchange Ion-exchange column used for protein purification Ion exchange is a reversible interchange of one kind of ion present on an insoluble solid with another of like charge present in a solution surrounding the solid with the reaction being used especial ...
technology. The most common example are household
dishwasher A dishwasher is a machine for cleaning dishware and cutlery automatically. Unlike manual dishwashing, which relies largely on physical scrubbing to remove soiling, the mechanical dishwasher cleans by spraying hot water, typically between , at t ...
s, utilizing sodium chloride in form of dishwasher salt. Brine is not involved in the purification process itself, but used for regeneration of
ion-exchange resin An ion-exchange resin or ion-exchange polymer is a resin or polymer that acts as a medium for ion exchange. It is an insoluble matrix (or support structure) normally in the form of small (0.25–0.5 mm radius) microbeads, usually white or yell ...
on cyclical basis. The water being treated flows through the resin container until the resin is considered exhausted and water is purified to a desired level. Resin is then regenerated by sequentially backwashing the resin bed to remove accumulated solids, flushing removed ions from the resin with a concentrated solution of replacement ions, and rinsing the flushing solution from the resin. After treatment, ion-exchange resin beads saturated with
calcium Calcium is a chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. As an alkaline earth metal, calcium is a reactive metal that forms a dark oxide-nitride layer when exposed to air. Its physical and chemical properties are most similar to i ...

calcium
and
magnesium Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg and atomic number 12. It is a shiny gray solid which bears a close physical resemblance to the other five elements in the second column (group 2, or alkaline earth metals) of the per ...
ions from the treated water, are regenerated by soaking in brine containing 6–12% NaCl. The
sodium Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na (from Latin "natrium") and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal. Sodium is an alkali metal, being in group 1 of the periodic table. Its only stable isotop ...

sodium
ions from brine replace the calcium and magnesium ions on the beads.


De-icing

In lower temperatures, a brine solution can be used to
de-ice De-icing is the process of removing snow, ice or frost from a surface. Anti-icing is understood to be the application of chemicals that not only de-ice but also remain on a surface and continue to delay the reformation of ice for a certain period ...
or reduce freezing temperatures on roads.


Wastewater

Brine is a byproduct of many industrial processes, such as
desalination Desalination is a process that takes away mineral components from saline water. More generally, desalination refers to the removal of salts and minerals from a target substance, as in soil desalination, which is an issue for agriculture. Saltwat ...
for human consumption and irrigation, power plant
cooling tower A cooling tower is a heat rejection device that rejects waste heat to the atmosphere through the cooling of a water stream to a lower temperature. Cooling towers may either use the evaporation of water to remove process heat and cool the worki ...
s,
produced water Produced water is a term used in the oil industry to describe water that is produced as a byproduct during the extraction of oil and natural gas. Produced water is a kind of brackish and saline waters from under ground formation that are brought t ...
from oil and
natural gas Natural gas (also called fossil gas; sometimes just gas) is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, but commonly including varying amounts of other higher alkanes, and sometimes a small percentage of carb ...
extraction,
acid mine or acid rock drainage
acid mine or acid rock drainage
,
reverse osmosis Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water purification process that uses a partially permeable membrane to separate ions, unwanted molecules and larger particles from drinking water. In reverse osmosis, an applied pressure is used to overcome osmotic press ...
reject,
chlor-alkali The chloralkali process (also chlor-alkali and chlor alkali) is an industrial process for the electrolysis of sodium chloride solutions. It is the technology used to produce chlorine and sodium hydroxide (lye/caustic soda), which are commodity chem ...
wastewater treatment, pulp and paper mill effluent, and waste streams from food and beverage processing. Along with diluted salts, it can contain residues of pretreatment and cleaning chemicals, their reaction byproducts and heavy metals due to corrosion. Wastewater brine can pose a significant environmental hazard, both due to corrosive and sediment-forming effects of salts and toxicity of other chemicals diluted in it. It must be properly disposed, which may require permits and compliance with environmental regulations. The simplest way to dispose of unpolluted brine from desalination plants and cooling towers is to return it to the ocean. To limit the environmental impact, it can be diluted with another stream of water, such as the outfall of a
wastewater treatment Wastewater treatment is a process used to remove contaminants from wastewater or sewage and convert it into an effluent that can be returned to the water cycle with acceptable impact on the environment, or reused for various purposes (called water ...
or power plant. Since brine is heavier than seawater and would accumulate on the ocean bottom, it requires methods to ensure proper diffusion, such as installing underwater diffusers in the
sewerage Sewerage is the infrastructure that conveys sewage or surface runoff (stormwater, meltwater, rainwater) using sewers. It encompasses components such as receiving drains, manholes, pumping stations, storm overflows, and screening chambers of the c ...
. Other methods include drying in
evaporation pond An aerial view of the evaporation ponds to the south of the Dead Sea operated by the Dead Sea Works ">Dead_Sea_Works.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Dead Sea operated by the Dead Sea Works">Dead Sea operated by the ...
s, injecting to deep wells, and storing and reusing the brine for irrigation, de-icing or dust control purposes. Technologies for treatment of polluted brine include: membrane filtration processes, such as
reverse osmosis Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water purification process that uses a partially permeable membrane to separate ions, unwanted molecules and larger particles from drinking water. In reverse osmosis, an applied pressure is used to overcome osmotic press ...
and forward osmosis; ion exchange processes such as
electrodialysis 400px Electrodialysis (ED) is used to transport salt ions from one solution through ion-exchange membranes to another solution under the influence of an applied electric potential difference. This is done in a configuration called an electrodialysi ...
or weak acid cation exchange; or evaporation processes, such as thermal brine concentrators and crystallizers employing mechanical vapour recompression and steam. New methods for membrane brine concentration, employing osmotically assisted reverse osmosis and related processes, are beginning to gain ground as part of zero liquid discharge systems (ZLD).


See also

* *


References

{{Authority control Salts
Coolants {{commonscat, Coolants Cooling technology Artificial materials Heat transfer ...
Refrigerants {{Cat main, refrigerant See also list of refrigerants Chemical compounds Coolants Industrial gases ...
Hydrology Articles relating to hydrology, the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and management of water on Earth and other planets, including the water cycle, water resources, and environmental watershed sustainability. A practitioner of hydro ...
Industrial minerals {{Cat main, Industrial mineral Minerals Economic geology ...