Influence of PPCA inhibitor on CaCO3 scale surface deposition and bulk precipitation at elevated temperature

Tao Chen, Anne Neville, Mingdong Yuan, Ken Sorbie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Scale formation is a serious and costly problem encountered in the oil and gas industry. Polyphosphinocarboxylic acid (PPCA) is a common commercial organic scale inhibitor used in the oil and gas industry which is normally referred to a nucleation inhibitor. In this paper, the effect of PPCA on calcium carbonate scale is studied systematically and some new insights into the mechanisms of PPCA inhibition are given. Traditionally, the studies of scale formation and inhibition have focused on bulk precipitation or surface deposition. Few studies have focused on the difference between surface deposition and bulk precipitation processes. In this paper, the effect of PPCA inhibitor on calcium carbonate scale formation is studied both in the bulk solution and on the metal surface in supersaturated scale formation solutions which represent typical waters encountered in oil and gas production. It is clear that PPCA inhibits both bulk precipitation and surface deposition but to a different degree. At 4 ppm PPCA, the inhibition efficiency of surface deposition is greater than the inhibition efficiency of bulk precipitation. It is assumed that the inhibitor film formed on the metal surface at the highest concentration of PPCA (4 ppm) prevent the adsorption of scale crystals on the metal surface. In addition, PPCA suppresses aragonite and calcite crystal formation and results in the least stable vaterite crystal dominating the scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalProgress in Natural Science: Materials International
Issue numbersup1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Calcium carbonate
  • Polyphosphinocarboxylic acid
  • PPCA
  • Scale


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