Brine is water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, saturated
Saturation (chemistry)
In chemistry, saturation has six different meanings, all based on reaching a maximum capacity...

 or nearly saturated with salt (usually sodium chloride
Sodium chloride
Sodium chloride, also known as salt, common salt, table salt or halite, is an inorganic compound with the formula NaCl. Sodium chloride is the salt most responsible for the salinity of the ocean and of the extracellular fluid of many multicellular organisms...


Brine is used to preserve vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

s, fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

, fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, and meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

, in a process known as brining
In cooking, brining is a process similar to marination in which meat is soaked in brine before cooking.Brining makes cooked meat moister by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking, via the process of osmosis, and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked,...

 (now less popular than historically). Brine is also commonly used to age Halloumi
Halloumi is a traditional Cypriot cheese that is also popular in Sweden and the rest of the Middle East and Greece, and is now produced in many countries and regions around the world...

 and Feta
Feta is a brined curd cheese traditionally made in Greece. Feta is an aged crumbly cheese, commonly produced in blocks, and has a slightly grainy texture. It is used as a table cheese, as well as in salads Feta is a brined curd cheese traditionally made in Greece. Feta is an aged crumbly cheese,...

Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms....

s, or for pickling
Pickling, also known as brining or corning is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in brine to produce lactic acid, or marinating and storing it in an acid solution, usually vinegar . The resulting food is called a pickle. This procedure gives the food a salty or sour taste...

 foodstuffs, as a means of preserving them (or increasing taste). Brine is a common fluid used in large refrigeration installations for the transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

 of heat
In physics and thermodynamics, heat is energy transferred from one body, region, or thermodynamic system to another due to thermal contact or thermal radiation when the systems are at different temperatures. It is often described as one of the fundamental processes of energy transfer between...

 from place to place. It is used because the addition of salt to water lowers the freezing temperature of the solution and the heat transport efficiency can be greatly enhanced for the comparatively low cost of the material. The lowest freezing point obtainable for NaCl brine is -21.1 °C at 23.3wt% NaCl. This is called the eutectic point.

Brine also refers to naturally occurring salt water
Salt water
Salt water or saltwater may refer to:* Saline water, water containing salts* Brine, with salt* Brackish water, water that is saltier than fresh water, but not as salty as seawater* Seawater, water from oceans or seas...

. The brine outcropping at the surface as saltwater springs are known as "licks" or "salines". The contents of dissolved solids in groundwater vary highly from one location to another on earth, both in terms of specific constituents (e.g. halite, anhydrite, carbonates, gypsum, fluoride-salts, and sulphate-salts) and regarding the concentration level. Using one of several classification of groundwater based on Total Dissolved Solids
Total dissolved solids
Total Dissolved Solids is a measure of the combined content of all inorganic and organic substances contained in a liquid in: molecular, ionized or micro-granular suspended form. Generally the operational definition is that the solids must be small enough to survive filtration through a sieve...

, brine is water containing more than 100,000 mg/L TDS. Brine is commonly produced during well completion operations, particularly after the hydraulic fracturing
Hydraulic fracturing
Considerable controversy surrounds the current implementation of hydraulic fracturing technology in the United States. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of utilizing pressurized water, or some other liquid, to fracture rock layers and release petroleum, natural gas, or other...

 of a well.
  • 0 °F was set as the zero point in the Fahrenheit temperature scale, as it was the coldest temperature that Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit could reliably reproduce — by freezing brine.

  • At 100 °C (373.65 K, 212 °F), saturated sodium chloride brine is about 28% salt
    In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

     by weight i.e. 39.12 g salt dissolves in 100 mL of water at 100 °C. At 0 °C (273.15 K, 32 °F), brine can only hold about 26% salt.
    Water salinity based on dissolved salts in parts per
    Parts-per notation
    In science and engineering, the parts-per notation is a set of pseudo units to describe small values of miscellaneous dimensionless quantities, e.g. mole fraction or mass fraction. Since these fractions are quantity-per-quantity measures, they are pure numbers with no associated units of measurement...

     thousand (g/L)
    Fresh water
    Fresh Water
    Fresh Water is the debut album by Australian rock and blues singer Alison McCallum, released in 1972. Rare for an Australian artist at the time, it came in a gatefold sleeve...

    Brackish water
    Brackish water
    Brackish water is water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater. It may result from mixing of seawater with fresh water, as in estuaries, or it may occur in brackish fossil aquifers. The word comes from the Middle Dutch root "brak," meaning "salty"...

    Saline water
    Saline water
    Saline water is a general term for water that contains a significant concentration of dissolved salts . The concentration is usually expressed in parts per million of salt....

    < 0.5 0.5 – 30 30 – 50 > 50

Electrolysis of brine

About four percent of hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 gas produced worldwide is created by electrolysis
In chemistry and manufacturing, electrolysis is a method of using a direct electric current to drive an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction...

. The majority of this hydrogen produced through electrolysis is a side product in the production of chlorine
Chlorine is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. It is the second lightest halogen, found in the periodic table in group 17. The element forms diatomic molecules under standard conditions, called dichlorine...

. This is a prime example of a competing side reaction.
  • 2 NaCl(aq) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 NaOH(aq) + H2(g) + Cl2(g)


The mass density or density of a material is defined as its mass per unit volume. The symbol most often used for density is ρ . In some cases , density is also defined as its weight per unit volume; although, this quantity is more properly called specific weight...

 of brine at various concentration
In chemistry, concentration is defined as the abundance of a constituent divided by the total volume of a mixture. Four types can be distinguished: mass concentration, molar concentration, number concentration, and volume concentration...

s and temperatures can be approximated with a linear equation: Density (lb/ft)3= a3 - (a2*Temperature (F)) where the values of a are:
Weight % a2 a3
5 .043 72.60
10 .039 73.72
15 .035 74.86
20 .032 76.21
25 .030 77.85

The thermal conductivity of seawater
Seawater is water from a sea or ocean. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5% . This means that every kilogram of seawater has approximately of dissolved salts . The average density of seawater at the ocean surface is 1.025 g/ml...

 (3.5% dissolved salt by weight) is 0.6 W/mK at 25 °C. The thermal conductivity decreases with increasing salinity and increases with increasing temperature; these graphs and online calculations plot thermal conductivity for varying salinity and temperature:

See also

  • Adulterant
    An adulterant is a chemical substance which should not be contained within other substances for legal or other reasons. Adulterants may be intentionally added to more expensive substances to increase visible quantities and reduce manufacturing costs or for some other deceptive or malicious purpose...

  • Brine pool
    Brine pool
    Brine pools are large areas of brine on the ocean basin. These pools are bodies of water that have a salinity three to five times greater than the surrounding ocean. For deep-sea brine pools, the source of the salt is the dissolution of large salt deposits through salt tectonics...

  • Brinicle
  • Saline water
    Saline water
    Saline water is a general term for water that contains a significant concentration of dissolved salts . The concentration is usually expressed in parts per million of salt....

  • Salinity
    Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of water. It is a general term used to describe the levels of different salts such as sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium sulfates, and bicarbonates...

  • Sea Salt
    Sea salt
    Sea salt, salt obtained by the evaporation of seawater, is used in cooking and cosmetics. It is historically called bay salt or solar salt...

  • Seawater
    Seawater is water from a sea or ocean. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5% . This means that every kilogram of seawater has approximately of dissolved salts . The average density of seawater at the ocean surface is 1.025 g/ml...

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