Hypobromous Acid

- Bromine Compounds3D Hypobromous Acid molecule

  • When Bromine in its various forms is added to the water it produces Hypobromous acid (HOBr)
  • Hypobromous acid controls bacteria and algae and oxidizes organics
  • It is a weak acid and therefore not harmful to people in the concentrations found in pools
  • Hypobromous acid dissociates in water like this: - HOBr <===> H+ and OBr- (hypobromite ion)
  • Hypobromous acid is the killing form of Bromine
  • It reacts with bacteria and organics and is a very effective sanitizer
  • OBr- reacts with ammonia (NH3) and is an oxidizer
  • Liquid Bromine readily forms Hypobromous acid and OBr- when added to water
  • Hypobromous acid reacts with sunlight
  • Unlike Chlorine, Bromine cannot be protected from UV light
  • Bromine is 2.25 times heavier than Chlorine, and at a pH of 7.5 the killing form of Bromine (Hypobromous acid) is at 94% and the oxidizing
  • form (hypobromite ion) is at 6%
  • You need twice the amount of Bromine by weight as Chlorine
  • 2 hours of bright sunlight will reduce pool Bromine levels by 65%, the equivalent unprotected Chlorine loss is 90%
  • Once Hypobromous acid destroys bacteria, algae or other organisms, or is destroyed itself by sunlight, it ends up as bromide ions
  • A strong oxidizer, such as Sodium Hypochlorite (liquid Chlorine), can 'recharge' the bromide by oxidizing it back into Hypobromous acid
  • Chlorine does not have this  ‘re-usability’; once Chlorine is spent it cannot be reactivated
  • HOBr combines with ammonia and nitrogen compounds in the pool to form bromamines
  • Bromamines are active sanitizers, and they do not have the foul-smell of chloramines
  • Bromine is not a strong enough oxidiser to oxidise or destroy ammonia and nitrogen compounds in the water
  • It is therefore necessary to oxidize these swimmers’ wastes and reactivate the bromide ions by adding a stronger oxidizer - usually any form of Chlorine or a non-bromine shock (e.g. potassium peroxymonosulphate)
  • There are 2 basic Bromine systems: 1-part and 2-part systems - we'll look at each system individually

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