cation exchange

cation exchange
The process by which a cation in a liquid phase exchanges with another cation present as the counter ion of a negatively charged solid polymer (cation exchanger). A cation-exchange reaction in removal of the Na+ of a sodium chloride solution is RSO3H+ + Na+ → RSO3Na+ + H+ (R is the polymer, RSO3 is the cation exchanger); if this is combined with the anion-exchange reaction, NaCl is removed from the solution (desalting). C. may also be used chromatographically, to separate cations, and medicinally, to remove a cation; e.g., H+, from gastric contents, or Na+ and K+ in the intestine. See anion exchange.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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