The effect of pH on the formation of a gypsum scale in the presence of a phosphonate antiscalant

Yoav O. Rosenberg, Itay J. Reznik, Sharon Zmora-Nahum, Jiwchar Ganor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


A massive gypsum scale in a discharge pipe of a desalination plant occurred despite the presence of an antiscalant (PermaTreat, PC-191). The scaling occurred following a sharp drop in the reject-brine pH when an acidic effluent (pH<2) was introduced. Batch experiments revealed that the antiscalant is effective in postponing nucleation and hindering the crystal growth kinetics of gypsum in the supersaturated brine (Ω gypsum>2) at neutral pH. However, as pH decreases both nucleation and crystal growth accelerate.A single general rate law that consistently described the crystal growth of gypsum as a function of pH in the batch experiments was found to be:RateSBET=k1{dot operator}(Ω1/2-1)10+k2{dot operator}(Ω1/2-1)2,where k i is the pH-dependant rate coefficient (molm -2s -1) and S BET is the BET surface area of gypsum (m 2). The dependence of the rate coefficients on pH is described quantitatively by an adsorption model which considers the protonation of the antiscalant functional groups.Finally, the precipitation rate of gypsum in the pipe was investigated with the laboratory rate law and adsorption model. It is shown that gypsum precipitation in the pipe occurs even in the absence of the acidic effluent and despite the fact that it could not be analytically detected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-220
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 4 Jan 2012


  • Adsorption
  • Antiscalant
  • Gypsum
  • PH
  • Rate law
  • Scaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of pH on the formation of a gypsum scale in the presence of a phosphonate antiscalant'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this