TweetWHAT IS ORP? Oxidation Reduction Potential or Redox is the activity or strength of oxidizers and reducers in relation to their concentration. Oxidizers accept electrons, reducers lose electrons. Examples of oxidizers are: chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, bromine, ozone, and chlorine dioxide. Examples of reducers are sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfate and hydrogen sulfide. Like acidity and alkalinity, […]
WHAT IS ORP?
Oxidation Reduction Potential or Redox is the activity or strength of oxidizers and reducers in relation to their concentration. Oxidizers accept electrons, reducers lose electrons. Examples of oxidizers are: chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, bromine, ozone, and chlorine dioxide. Examples of reducers are sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfate and hydrogen sulfide. Like acidity and alkalinity, the increase of one is at the expense of the other.
A single voltage is called the Oxidation-Reduction Potential, where a positive voltage shows a solution attracting electrons (oxidizing agent). For instance, chlorinated water will show a positive ORP value whereas sodium sulfite (a reducing agent) loses electrons and will show a negative ORP value.
ORP is measured in millivolts (mV), with no correction for solution temperature. Like pH, it is not a measurement of concentration directly, but of activity level. In a solution of only one active component, ORP indicates concentration. As with pH, a very dilute solution will take time to accumulate a measurable charge.
An ORP sensor uses a small platinum surface to accumulate charge without reacting chemically. That charge is measured relative to the solution, so the solution “ground” voltage comes from the reference junction – the same type used by a pH sensor.
HISTORY OF ORP
ORP electrodes were first studied at Harvard University in 1936. These studies showed a strong correlation of ORP and bacterial activity. These tests were confirmed by studies on drinking water and swimming pools in other areas of the world. In 1971 ORP (700 mV) was adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a standard for drinking water. In 1982 the German Standards Agency adopted the ORP (750 mV) for public pools and in 1988 the National Swimming Pool Institute adopted ORP (650 mV) for public spas.
WHERE IS ORP USED?
As you can tell by the previous paragraphs, ORP is used for drinking water, swimming pools and spas. However, ORP is also used for cooling tower disinfection, groundwater remediation, bleaching, cyanide destruction, chrome reductions, metal etching, fruit and vegetable disinfection and dechlorination.
In test after test on poliovirus, E. coli, and other organisms, a direct correlation between ORP and the rate of inactivation was determined. It is, therefore, possible to select an individual ORP value, expressed in millivolts, at which a predictable level of disinfection will be achieved and sustained regardless of variations in either oxidant demand or oxidant concentration. Thus, individual ORP targets, expressed in millivolts, can be determined for each application, which will result in completely reliable disinfection of pathogens, oxidation of organics, etc. Any level of oxidation for any purpose can be related to a single ORP number which, if maintained, will provide utterly consistent results at the lowest possible dosage.
WHY USE ORP?
ORP is a convenient measure of the oxidizer’s or reducer’s ability to perform a chemical task. ORP is not only valid over a wide pH range, but it is also a rugged electrochemical test, which can easily be accomplished using in-line and handheld instrumentation. It is by far a more consistent and reliable measurement than say chlorine alone.
LIMITATIONS FOR ORP
As with all testing, ORP has certain limitations. The speed of response is directly related to the exchange current density which is derived from concentration, the oxidation reduction system, and the electrode. If the ORP of a sample is similar to the ORP of the electrode, the speed will be diminished.
Carryover is also a possible problem when checking strong oxidizers or reducers, and rinsing well will help greatly.
Although a better indicator of bactericidal activity, ORP cannot be used as a direct indicator of the residual of an oxidizer due to the effect of pH and temperature on the reading. ORP can be correlated to a system by checking the oxidizer or reducer in a steady state system with a wet test, and measuring pH. If the system stays within the confines of this steady state parameter (usually maintained by in- line or continuous control), a good correlation can be made. The best recommendation for ORP is to use wet tests, and over three test periods correlate the ORP values to those test parameters.
FREE CHLORINE CONVERSION USING ORP
The most ubiquitous and cost-effective sanitizing agent used in disinfection systems is chlorine. When chlorine is used as the sanitizer, free chlorine measurements are required to ensure residual levels high enough for ongoing bactericidal activity. Myron L meters accurately convert ORP measurements to free chlorine based on the understanding of the concentrations of the forms of free chlorine at a given pH and temperature. The conversion is accurate when chlorine is the only oxidizing/reducing agent in solution and pH is stable between 5 and 9. This pH range fits most applications because pH is usually maintained such that the most effective form of free chlorine, hypochlorous acid, exists in the greatest concentration with respect to other variables such as human tolerance.
MYRON L METERS
Myron L offers a variety of handheld instruments and in-line Monitor/controllers that may be used to measure, monitor and/or control ORP. The latest is the Ultrapen PT3, ORP/Redox and Temperature Pen. The Ultrameter III™ 9PTKA, Ultrameter II™ 6PFCE, PoolPro™ PS6FCE and PS9TK, and D-6 Digital Dialysate Meter™ are multi-parameter handheld instruments with ORP and FCE free chlorine measuring capabilities. These instruments also have the capability to measure conductivity, TDS, resistivity, pH, mineral/salt concentration and temperature, making them the preferred instruments for all water treatment professionals. The 720 Series II Monitor/controllers are an excellent choice for continuous in-line measurements.
For additional information, visit us at MyronLMeters.com.
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TweetWhat is the ORP of water? ORP stands for Oxidation Reduction Potential, also known as Redox. It is a measure of the tendency of a chemical species to acquire electrons and thereby be reduced. The ORP measurement is displayed in millivolts (mV) and the usual range for ORP meters is (+1000 mV) to (-1000 mV) […]
What is the ORP of water?
ORP stands for Oxidation Reduction Potential, also known as Redox. It is a measure of the tendency of a chemical species to acquire electrons and thereby be reduced. The ORP measurement is displayed in millivolts (mV) and the usual range for ORP meters is (+1000 mV) to (-1000 mV) with no temperature compensation. It is not a direct measurement of concentration, but rather an indicator of the activity level or strength of an oxidizer or reducer.
An oxidizer gains electrons, while a reducer loses electrons. Examples of oxidizers are: chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, bromine, ozone, and chlorine dioxide. Examples of reducers are sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfate and hydrogen sulfide. Like acidity and alkalinity, the increase of one is at the expense of the other.
When measuring with an ORP meter, a positive voltage shows a solution gaining electrons (oxidizing) and a negative voltage shows a solution losing electrons (reducing). For instance, chlorinated water will show a positive ORP value and a solution with sodium sulfite will have a negative ORP value.
ORP meters are used for swimming pools and spas, drinking water, cooling tower disinfection, and groundwater remediation. ORP meters are also crucial for bleaching applications, cyanide destruction, chrome reductions, metal etching, fruit and vegetable disinfection and dechlorination.
Many organizations around the world have accepted ORP as a standard for disinfection. An ORP of 750 mV was adopted by the German Standards Agency in 1982 for public pools. The National Swimming Pool Institute also adopted an ORP of 650 mV for public spas. The World Health Organization (WHO) adopted an ORP of 700 mV as a standard for drinking water.
How to use ORP?
Oxidation Reduction Potential is a convenient measure of the oxidizer’s or reducer’s ability to perform a chemical task. It is a more consistent and reliable measurement than chlorine alone. You can establish an ORP measurement at which acceptable sanitation is achieved and maintained for your application by testing the rate of inactivation of various microorganisms. There are published standards for many applications or a lab water analysis should be able to provide these results if necessary. For example, the above paragraph mentions the 750 mV standard for public swimming pools. Once that has been determined you can use an ORP controller to maintain that level of sanitation.
Similar to pH, high purity solutions will take extra time to stabilize a reading due to the low ionic strength. Also, if the ORP measurement of a sample solution is similar to the mV of the ORP probe, it will take slightly longer for a reading to respond and stabilize. Rinsing the probe with a strong oxidizer will help to increase the reaction time and give accurate readings quickly. Ensure that there is not residual solution in the ORP probe by rinsing thoroughly with the solution to be tested.
ORP meters like the 728II are used to monitor the sanitizer level. A pH controller, such as the 723II, is also used to monitor pH. The controllers automatically turn the appropriate chemical feeders on and off, as required to maintain the proper sanitizer and pH levels. This results in good water quality and elimination of chloramines and other unpleasant contaminants, as well as in savings in chemical and labor.
Generally, ORP meters without pH control should not be used with alkaline sanitizers such as sodium hypochlorite or calcium hypochlorite. If the pH remains fairly constant, these inexpensive controllers provide a very cost effective solution to the problem of chemical control in small commercial applications.
Other handheld instruments like the POOLPRO PS6 have been designed to test ORP reliably for swimming pools and other applications. If you are in the medical dialysis industry, you will definitely be interested in the Digital Dialysate Meter D-6 that test ORP, among other parameters.