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Presently, three types of deposit inhibition chemicals antiscalants are widely used to prevent

mineral deposition on pipe and heat exchanger surfaces in cooling systems: carboxylic polymers,
such as poly acrylic acid (PAA),polyacrylamide, and polymaleic acid (PMA); phosphonates; and
polyphosphates. Polymeric antiscalants often incorporate functional groups in addition to
carboxylate such as sulfonate or benzenesulfonate (Shakkthivel and Vasudevan, 2006; Duet al.,
2009).
Multiple antiscaling mechanisms working together contribute to the effectiveness of the
antiscaling chemicals.
First, the precipitation propensity of minerals is mitigated through complexation with antiscalant
molecules to increase the operational solubility of cationic species, primarily Ca and Mg, the most
common potential scale forming species in water (Eriksson et al., 2007). Second, the antiscalants
can interact with newly formed mineral nuclei to disrupt the crystallization process, thereby
hindering the growth of the precipitating particles (Frayne, 1999; Shakkthivel and Vasudevan,
2006). Antiscalants for which this mechanism is dominant are commonly referred to as threshold
inhibitors.
Third, antiscalant molecules can stabilize the mineral particulates through electrostatic and/or
steric interactions to keep them dispersed in the aqueous suspension, rendering them less prone
to sedimentation or deposition (Eriksson et al.,2007). A fourth mechanism of scale inhibition
involves adsorption of antiscalants onto pipe surfaces to prevent mineral deposition onto the
surfaces. For example, phosphorous-bearing groups exhibit strong interactions with surfaces of
metals and metal oxides (Nowack, 2003). Based on the similar mechanism of surface adsorption,
some phosphonates and polyphosphates are used as corrosion inhibitors as well because a
surface layer of these molecules retards surface redox reactions (Kielemoes et al., 2000).
However, many of the phosphorous-based compounds, particularly the polyphosphates, suffer
from hydrolysis reactions that produce orthophosphate (Snoeyink and Jenkins, 1980), potentially
exacerbating phosphate scaling when the water contains signicant hardness.