Silica scale formation and effect of sodium and aluminium ions -29Si NMR study
Silica scale formation on reverse osmosis (RO) membrane surface is a significant problem for operation of high recovery RO desalination plant. In this study we report the effects of sodium ions derived from sodium chloride and aluminium ions derived from aluminium chloride on dissolved silica species obtained from commercial sodium silicate solutions. Five dissolved silica species have been positively identified in sodium silica solutions. 29Si NMR spectroscopy has proven to be particular well suited to obtain in situ information on the connectivity of silicon atoms in the solution and the impact of sodium and aluminium ions on connectivity between monomeric silica acid groups. Such information extends the understanding of how polysilicate ion mixtures change under different chemical conditions. Implications for RO desalination and silica scale formation on the membrane surface were discussed.