Quick Definition:

Ionization energy generally describes the energy required for an atom to give up an electron. The higher the ionization energy, the less likely the atom will give up an electron.

What does Ionization Energy mean for swimming pools?

The energy required to remove an electron from a gaseous atom or ions by any other atom or a molecule is known as ionization energy.  This property can alternatively be referred as ionization potential and usually measured in volts. Ionization energy for different molecules is considered a measure of the tendency of an atom or ion molecule to surrender electrons.  Ionization energy is also considered a measure of electron binding strength.  Elements with low ionization energy in most cases are reducing agents, forming cations and combine with anions to form salts.

For swimming pools, it is important to have a working knowledge of ionization energy.  Molecules and elements are constantly gaining and giving up electrons in the pool water, forming and breaking chemical bonds.  All work required to get unbalanced pool water to a stable and balanced state is ultimately one large task of striking the right balance between ions and cations.

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