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Industrial water purification for high-tech process applications has been one of the few markets that have shown steady growth, without much recessionary interruptions, over the past four decades. This growth has not been rapid, but steady at approximately twice the GNP. Because of the slow, steady growth, and the fact that in 1990 the entire USA sales in this marketare only approximately $1.2–1.5 billion, the industrial high purity water market has not received the attention in the media, either popular or financial, that other industries have.
Nonetheless, the high purity water treatment industry remains poised to continue its growth over the next decade. The reason for this is that high-tech industries are employing advanced materials that are critically dependent on high purity water either for their manufacture or for use in a process. Water is a “critical” material that is an integral part of the manufacture and use of “advanced” materials. Steam electric power generation could not be done with today's efficiency and availability were it not for the high purity water used in the steam cycle. Micromanufacturing efficiencies for semiconductors, compact disks, and magnetic media are directly dependent on the purity of the water used as a rinsing material. Similarly, safe and reliable Pharmaceuticals could not be made available without sterile, pyrogen-free water.
Water will play an ever-increasing role in the manufacture and use of advanced materials in the future. Biotechnology, quenching of turbine forgings in delonized water, the use of ultrafiltered deionized water in the final rinsing of fluorinated polymer films, manufacture of new glass laminates, and the employment of 18.3-megohm-cm water in the production of graphite fibers are but a few of the new uses for high purity water that will expand the horizons for high purity water in the next decade.
water market, ion exchange, demineralization, reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration, electrodialysis reversal
TALL OAKS PUBLISHING, INC., Littleton, CO