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Brine pump of 1848 in Bad Kissingen (Germany)
Brine pump of 1848 in Bad Kissingen (Germany)

Brine is water saturated or nearly saturated with a salt (usually sodium chloride).

It is used to preserve vegetables, fish, and meat, in a process known as brining (now less popular than historically). Brine is also commonly used to age Halloumi and Feta cheeses.

Brine is a common fluid used in large refrigeration installations for the transport of heat 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. At a concentration of 23.3%, the freezing point of NaCl brine is lowered to −21°C (252.15 K, −6°F)[citation needed], and that of CaCl2 brine down to -40°C (233.15 K, -40°F)[1]:69

At 15.5°C (288.65 K, 60°F) saturated sodium chloride brine is 26.4% salt by weight (100 degree SAL). At 0°C (273.15 K, 32°F) brine can only hold 26.3% salt.

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.[2]

Brine is also used for pickling foodstuffs, as a means of preserving them (or increasing for taste). Almost anything can be pickled - cucumbers (most common), eggs, peppers. Common pickling flavors include garlic, dill, mustard seed, etc.

Water salinity based on dissolved salts in parts per thousand (ppt)
Fresh water Brackish water Saline water Brine
< 0.5 0.5 – 30 30 – 50 > 50

Electrolysis of Brine

About four percent of hydrogen gas produced worldwide is created by electrolysis. The majority of this hydrogen produced through electrolysis is a side product in the production of chlorine. This is a prime example of a competing side reaction.

2 NaCl + 2 H2O → 2 NaOH + H2 + Cl2


  1. ^ Iltyd I. Redwood. Theoretical and Practical Ammonia Refrigeration. ISBN 0559036264. 
  2. ^

Simple English

Brine is water that has more than 5% salt in it. It is used for preserving food. For this it is much like vinegar or sugar. Brine is also used to transport heat. Adding salt to water lowers the freezing point of the water. At 15.5 ° Celsius, a saturated solution of brine can hold 26.4 % salt by weight. At 0°, it can hold 23.3% salt.

Brines also have some pharmaceutical properties, which can be used to treat people, especially those with diseases of the skin, allergies and common colds.

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