Scale inhibitors with a hyper-branched structure: preparation, characterization and scale inhibition mechanism
In order to improve the scale inhibition efficiency of existing scale inhibitors for industrial water and to reduce the phosphorus pollution of water bodies, a new type of scale inhibitor with a hyper-branched structure has been developed in this study. First, an AB′ type of functional monomer (AMA) was synthesized from maleic anhydride (MAH) and propylene glycol, then copolymerized with monomer B (MAH) through radical polymerization, resulting in a hyper-branched polycarboxylic acid. The synthesis conditions, such as reaction temperature and time, monomer ratio and initiator dosage, have been investigated for obtaining the expected hyper-branched polymer with good scale inhibition performance. The scale inhibition efficiency of the obtained products was determined according to their resistance to the crystallization of calcium sulfate and calcium carbonate under the optimal application conditions. The experimental results show that the hyper-branched polycarboxylic acid provides a scale inhibiting efficiency for CaCO3 and CaSO4 as high as 95.2% and 92.3%, respectively. In addition, XRD analysis showed that the good scale inhibition of the hyper-branched polycarboxylic acid is attributed to its ability to inhibit and destroy the formation of crystals, changing the crystal forms of the calcium scale. This conclusion indicates that the prepared hyper-branched polycarboxylic acid has great application potential in the treatment of industrial water.