Tag: swim

The Chemistry of Swimming Pools

Chlorination & Pee in the Pool: The Chemistry of Swimming Pools

Infographic on the chemistry of pool chlorination. Hypochlorite salts tend to be used to disinfect pools; they react with water to produce hypochlorous acid, the main bactericidal agent in pool water. It exists in equilibrium with hypocholorite ions, which are broken down by sunlight. Ammonia and ammonia-like compounds from human sweat and urine react with hypochlorous acid to produce chloramines, which cause the characteristic smell of swimming pools and can also cause wheeziness and sore eyes for some swimmers.
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Swimming pools are a brilliant way of cooling off during a hot summer. Of course, this isn’t a particularly original idea, and hundreds of people might use a particular pool every day. Chemistry is on hand to help prevent us from swimming in water that harbours potential water-borne infections. It can also help out with the cardinal sin of pool-peeing, though not without consequence. It does this, as you likely already know, through the chlorination of pool water – although it’s less simple than you might think!

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