A combination of Laser Raman Spectroscopy, Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry and Scanning Electron Microscopy has been used to investigate the influence of corrosion inhibitors on the mechanism of scale formation.

In a series of experiments mixed barium and strontium sulphate scales were precipitated onto a steel surface in the separate presence of three generically different scale inhibitors. In each, one of two contemporary corrosion inhibitors was also added and the rate of scale growth monitored. All experiments were performed at a constant temperature, pressure and solution pH of 25°C, 1 ATM and 4.5 respectively.

A significant influence on the rate of scale formation was observed in the presence of corrosion inhibitors. The corrosion inhibitors affected the way in which scale ions, as well as scale inhibitors, attached themselves to the surface. These data indicate the presence of subtle interactions in these multi-component systems which strongly influence the efficiency of individual production chemicals.

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