How Does chlorine Dioxide Work?
Chlorine dioxide is a greenish-yellow gas that dissociates into oxygen gas, chlorine gas and water. It is a strong and volatile molecule with a different chemical structure from chlorine.
Chlorine dioxide is a powerful disinfectant that is added to water to destroy pathogens, bacteria and parasites. Because of its gaseous state, it rapidly reacts through oxidation, and this makes it an effective water treatment. Although small in nature chlorine dioxide can react powerfully with reducing agents.
How It Works in General
Because of its radical nature and oxidizing properties, Chlorine dioxide is deemed a great bactericidal and pathogenic destroying agent. In order to disinfect, chlorine dioxide remains in its permeable gas state, and this allows it to migrate via the cell membrane. It then reacts selectively with particular proteins and cellular components like the amino acids, including tryptophan, cystine and tyrosine.
Chlorine reacts with substances in bacterial cells and this interrupts several cellular processes. Through oxidation, chlorine dioxide will react directly with the RNA and amino acids in the cell, and this alters the production of proteins. When protein synthesis is disrupted, the important cell physiological functions will also be inhibited. In this way, bacteria are eliminated, and chlorine dioxide will penetrate the cell wall.
In order to eliminate pathogens, Chlorine dioxide works by reacting with peptone to curb protein generation. Peptone is a water-soluble substance that is created from the hydrolysis of proteins to amino acids. This makes chlorine dioxide an effective disinfectant against viruses and germs then other compounds like chlorine and ozone.
How Chlorine Dioxide Works in Drinking Water Applications
One of the main uses of chlorine dioxide is treatment of drinking water. But how does it do that? Chlorine is used both as an oxidizing agent as well as a disinfectant in the treatment of drinking water.
For water treatment, it can either be used in the pre-oxidation stage or the post-oxidation stage. It prevents the growth of bacteria and algae when added in the pre-oxidation stage of water treatment.
Chlorine dioxide is an oxidizing agent that helps in the process of coagulation and removes turbidity in water. It oxidizes floating water as well. Additionally, it is used as an effective pretreatment for removing compounds like manganese and iron, which impact the taste and odor of drinking water.
Unlike other chemical compounds like chlorine, chlorine dioxide is an active compound against the formation of bio film in the distribution network of drinking water. Basically, bio film creates a protective layer that covers pathogenic microorganisms, which are usually hard to reach.
Nevertheless, chlorine dioxide rapidly penetrates the bio film substrate, eliminating the microbes present in the biofilm. Aside from killing the pathogenic microorganisms, it prevents bio film generation as well. This is because chlorine dioxide remains in an active state for an extended period.
How It Works in More Contaminated Water
In contaminated water applications, chlorine dioxide works by minimizing biofouling. It works best than other alternatives because of its selective oxidation reactivity. Additionally, it works well in treating wastewater applications because it reduces chlorinated organic formation and corrosion.
Chlorine is also used as a powerful disinfectant for treating industrial wastewater. Furthermore, it removes and prevents bio film creation in cooling towers, which can cause corrosion of piping and equipment. Since it works in high Ph value, it can be used to remove and prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria that thrives well in cooling towers.