Novel Laser-Hydrothermal Apparatus for Nucleation and Inhibition Study of Scale Minerals at Temperatures up to 250°C

Deng, Guannan (Rice University) | Kan, Amy T. (Rice University) | Zhang, Fangfu (EP Minerals) | Lu, Alex Y. (Rice University) | Tomson, Mason B. (Rice University)



In this work a new laser-hydrothermal apparatus is designed to evaluate nucleation of scale minerals at temperature up to 250°C, its reliability is proven by measuring induction time data of barite from 90°C to 250°C at various Saturation index (SI) values, with the objective that such a design would contribute to the scale-related research at extreme temperature.

Background solution (e.g. 1m NaCl) in a borosilicate glass bottle was placed inside a hydrothermal reactor. GC oven was used for temperature control and a modified Nd-Fe-B magnetic stirrer under the oven was used for stirring. A PFA tubing was selected to be the part with contact with solution for corrosion control. Using a 0.5 ml sample loop in two separate 6-ways switch valves, Ba2+ and SO42-concentrated solutions were simultaneously injected into a background solution. After supersaturation was initiated, a laser beam penetrated through the sight glasses installed on the both sides of the reactor to record the turbidity change during the nucleation process.

Induction time (tind) of Saturation index (SI) values from 0.34 to 1.02 was measured at temperatures from 90°C to 250°C. Data correlates well with data from previous laser test at 90°C in a regular beaker experiment. The induction time (tind), that is, how fast a supersaturated solution induces nucleation and crystal growth to form detectable turbidity, decrease with temperature at a fixed SI value. For example, tind of 93 minutes at 150°C decreases to about 2 minutes at 250°C under the the same SI value of 0.65, indicating that increasing temperature facilitates the nucleation process at certain supersaturation levels. This temperature impact can be attributed both by thermodynamics and kinectic aspects.