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Water with salt

Sole (from late Middle High German sul, sol for "salt broth") is an aqueous solution of salts that contains at least 14 g of dissolved substances per 1 kg of water. Originally, the term only referred to the table salt solutions from which salt was extracted from natural brine sources in salt pans , graduation towers , salt mines or by the sea . Evaporation of the sun ( evaporation ) or boiling is then the brine salt recovered. Even today, the term brine is mainly used for appropriately concentrated sodium chloride solutions.


For the simpler industrial salt mining or transport the salt with the help of water from the Mountain is obtained ( solution mining or solution mining ). The technique used earlier - and still sporadically today - consists in the creation of caustic chambers (approx. 2-3 m high rooms) in the mountain, which are filled with water. The salt slowly dissolves in the water. After reaching natural saturation (approx. 26% salt content), the brine is pumped out.

Modern brine process

Today the extraction is mostly done using borehole probes. A deep borehole is driven through the salt deposits. Two concentric flush pipes are hung in the borehole . In the first phase of the brining out, fresh water is introduced through the lower central pipe. The resulting brine is displaced for days via the outer flushing pipe (direct brine process).

In the course of degradation, the rinsing cycle is reversed (indirect brine process). The fresh water enters the cavern via the annular space of the flushing pipes , slowly saturates itself with salt on the way down and leaves the cavern as brine via the lower central pipe . To secure the ridge of the cavern being created, a protective liquid or a protective gas (blanket) is introduced through the outer flushing pipe. Due to its lower density, it is layered over the water and prevents vertical leaching out.

The cavities created by brining out with drilling probes often have considerable dimensions (diameter up to 80 m, height up to 500 m, volume up to over 1 million m³). Because of their natural impermeability, they are often used today as underground storage for natural gas and crude oil , with the brine being used as a balancing fluid for the storage of crude oil. When crude oil is pumped into the storage facility, the brine is displaced. The removal of crude oil is done by pumping in brine.

Brine processing

The further processing of the brine takes place in a salt works . The Saline Conow , located in southwest Mecklenburg in the district Conow of the municipality Malliss in the district Ludwigslust-Parchim , was first mentioned on August 28, 1307. Rudolf I of Saxony-Wittenberg had given it - shortly after taking possession of the state of Dömitz - to the nuns of the Eldena monastery , on whose property the salt spring had been discovered.

Another of the many salt pans (see the list of salt pans in Germany ) has existed since 1607 in Ebensee am Traunsee in the Salzkammergut . In Bad Reichenhall , where a saltworks has existed since Roman times, the most important natural brine deposits were discovered in the High Middle Ages. Salt is still produced in Bad Reichenhall from brine, including from the Berchtesgaden salt mine, which is connected to the New Saline by a pipeline . In the tourism sector, the Reichenhall-Traunstein brine pipeline is often described as the "oldest pipeline in the world".


The brine is also used in the food industry for shock freezing meat and fish. To do this, the brine is cooled down to −35 ° C and the product is dipped into it.

Another area of ​​application is winter service . On the one hand, it is used to moisten road salt ; the winter service vehicles have a tank with brine, which is added to the road salt during application in order to achieve faster thawing results and to prevent drifting (wet salt spreading). On the other hand, it is used alone (i.e. without dry salt) in de-icing agent spraying systems and special winter service vehicles with liquid spreading machines.

Technically produced brines are also used as coolants in heat pumps .

Medical application

Kaiser-Karl-Quelle, brine drinking fountain in Bad Reichenhall

In medicine, common salt solutions with a salt content of 1.5 to 6% are called brine. The medical effectiveness of brine applications for some skin diseases is undisputed, the effectiveness is questioned in other application areas. There are brine drinking cure, salt rinses, brine baths , saltwater liniments, Sole envelopes and brine inhalations .

Sole is in the tourist often well developed saltwater pools u. a. Used for skin diseases , allergies , colds , digestive problems , metabolic disorders , kidney and urinary bladder diseases , "nervous disorders", poor concentration and sleep disorders .

Successful treatments for cancer , menstrual cramps , eye diseases or heavy metal pollution that are touted by advocates have not been scientifically proven. Serious providers tend to emphasize the effect of fun, relaxation and entertainment in the overall context of a bathing stay , substantially restrict the indications and mention the contraindications .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hans Murawski , Wilhelm Meyer : Geological dictionary . 12., revised. and exp. Edition. Spektrum, Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg 2010, ISBN 978-3-8274-1810-4 , p. 154 , doi : 10.1007 / 978-3-8274-2244-6 .
  2. ^ Brockhaus ABC chemistry in two volumes. Vol. 2: L-Z. VEB F. A. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1965, DNB 450772225 , p. 1307.