Controlled Growth of Strontium Sulfate Particles in Aqueous Solution: Inhibition Effects of a Bubble Column Evaporator
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In the oil industry, strontium sulfate (SrSO4) scale deposits have long plagued oilfield and gas production operations. This remains an unsolved problem. We here show how the bubble column evaporator (BCE) can be used to control aqueous precipitation from salt solutions.
Mixtures of strontium nitrate and sodium sulfate in the BCE system were used to precipitate strontium sulfate at different degrees of supersaturation. The effectiveness of the BCE system was compared to standard mechanical stirring. The precipitation of strontium sulfate in both processes was monitored through turbidimeter, particle counting, Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The results show that the BCE system has a significant inhibition effect and so can be used to control precipitation growth rate, even from supersaturated solutions. This remarkable effect also provides new insights into mechanisms of crystallisation, of bubble interactions and mineral flotation.
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