Calcium carbonate scale formation is a major drawback in oil or gas production wells, in geothermal processing equipments and in industrial cooling water installations. In most cases it reduces the overall fluid flow rate, induces formation or production damage and may lead to a shutdown of exploiting operations.

Various chemical inhibitors have been proposed to inhibit scale deposits. A major challenge is the evaluation of their action in near real operating conditions. Usually effectiveness is evaluated by the analysis of residual scale inhibitor in brines.

A novel approach is here proposed which uses an electrochemical technique to accelerate scale formation. Measurements on an electrode immersed in the tested water include as a function of time the decrease of the incident current (chronoamperometry) and the simultaneous increase of the weight recorded by a microbalance (chronoelectro-gravimetry) as a consequence of the progressive electrode surface coverage by scale deposit. By using a specific experimental device it is possible to follow and visualize in situ scale deposition or inhibition on a metallic surface under near-real hydrodynamic flow conditions.

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