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Langelier saturation index

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Langelier Saturation Index (LSI)

The LangelierSaturationindex (LSI) is an equilibriummodel derivedfrom the theoreticalconcept of saturationand providesan indicatorof the degreeof
saturationof water with respect to calciumcarbonate. It can be shownthat the Langeliersaturationindex (LSI) approximatesthe base 10 logarithmof the
calcite saturationlevel. The Langeliersaturationlevel approachesthe concept of saturationusing pH as a main variable. The LSI can be interpretedas the
pH change requiredto bring water to equilibrium.
Water with a Langeliersaturationindex of 1.0 is one pH unit above saturation. Reducingthe pH by 1 unit will bring the water into equilibrium. This occurs
becausethe portion of total alkalinitypresent as CO3 2- decreasesas the pH decreases, accordingto the equilibriadescribingthe dissociationof carbonic

If LSI is negative: No potentialto scale, the water will dissolveCaCO3

If LSI is positive: Scale can form and CaCO3 precipitationmayoccur
If LSI is close to zero: Borderlinescale potential. Water qualityor changesin temperature, or evaporationcould change the index.
The LSI is probablythe most widelyused indicatorof coolingwater scale potential. It is purelyan equilibriumindex and deals only with the thermodynamic
drivingforce for calciumcarbonatescale formationand growth. It providesno indicationof how much scale or calciumcarbonatewill actuallyprecipitate
to bring water to equilibrium.
It simplyindicatesthe drivingforce for scale formationand growth in terms of pH as a mastervariable. In order to calculatethe LSI, it is necessaryto know
the alkalinity(mg/l as CaCO3 ), the calciumhardness(mg/l Ca2+ as CaCO3 ), the total dissolvedsolids (mg/l TDS), the actual pH, and the temperatureof
the water (o C). If TDS is unknown, but conductivityis, one can estimatemg/L TDS using a conversiontable such as the one presentedhere. LSI is defined
LSI = pH - pHs
pH is the measuredwater pH
pHs is the pH at saturationin calcite or calciumcarbonateand is definedas:
pHs = (9.3 + A + B) - (C + D)
%= (Log10 [TDS] - 1) / 10
B = -13.12 x Log10 (o C + 273) + 34.55
C = Log10 [Ca2+ as CaCO3 ] - 0.4
D = Log10 [alkalinityas CaCO3 ]
Click here to see an example of a LangelierIndexcalculation.
However, there is some controversyconcerningthe correlationof these indices, and particularlythe LSI, with the corrosivityof waters. While some sectors
of the water managementindustrysquarelyuse the indices as a measureof the corrosivityof their waters, more alert specialists, includingour dear friends
Paul Dillon and Bert Krisher, are very cautiousas to how far one can extrapolatethe indices to such usage. The CorrosionDoctorshave recordedsome

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Langelier index calculation

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Langelier Index Calculation

As an example, supposethe drinking water supplied to animals has the followinganalysis. The LSI index is calculatedat two temperatures: 25o C (room
temperature) and 82o C (cage wash cycle). The colder incomingwater will warmto room temperaturein the manifolds. Residualwater in the rack manifold
can be heated to 82o C when the rack is in the cage washer.
Water Analysis:
pH = 7.5
TDS = 320 mg/L
Calcium = 150 mg/L (or ppm) as CaCO3
Alkalinity= 34 mg/L (or ppm) as CaCO3
LSI Formula:
LSI = pH - pHs
pHs = (9.3 + A + B) - (C + D) where:
A = (Log10[TDS] - 1)/10 = 0.15
B = -13.12 x Log10(o C + 273) + 34.55 = 2.09 at 25C and 1.09 at 82C
C = Log10[Ca2+ as CaCO3 ] - 0.4 = 1.78
D = Log10[alkalinityas CaCO3 ] = 1.53
Calculationat 25o C:
pHs = (9.3 + 0.15 + 2.09) - (1.78 + 1.53) = 8.2
LSI = 7.5 - 8.2 = - 0.7
Hence No Tendencyto Scale
Calculationat 82o C:
pHs = (9.3 + 0.15 + 1.09) - (1.78 + 1.53) = 7.2
LSI = 7.5 - 7.2 = + 0.3
Hence Slight Tendencyto Scale

Consult the Water Glossary, Water Cooling Towers

See also: Calcium carbonate, Carbondioxide, Chlorination, Dissolvedoxygen, Langeliercalculation, Langelierindex, Larson-Skold index, Oddo-Tomson
index, pH, Puckoriusindex, Ryznarindex, ScalingIndices, Stiff-Davis index, Total dissolvedsolids, Water corrosivity

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