Scale Inhibitor Chemicals for Cooling Water Systems

Cooling water systems are subject to a variety of contaminants that can interfere with heat transfer, increase corrosion rates, restrict water flow, and cause process efficiency and production loss. Customized scale inhibitor programs are necessary for mineral scale and sludge prevention.

  • Mineral Scales: Calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, calcium phosphate, magnesium silicate, silica compounds, and mixtures of these
  • Sludge and Organics: Silt and windblown debris, biological deposits, metallic oxides, corrosion products, oil, organics, and process contaminants

Mineral scales form when dissolved solids and minerals are introduced to your cooling water system through your raw water source or as a result of airborne contamination. These dissolved solids precipitate when the solubility levels are exceeded because of increased concentrations, elevated water temperature, and high pH. Sludge and organics form when suspended material (by-products of corrosion, dust, sand, microbial growth, and minerals) are introduced through influent water or airborne impurities.

Scale Inhibitor Programs to Control Deposition and Fouling

The function of a dispersant or antifoulant scale inhibitor program is to prevent the agglomeration of solids and their accumulation on critical surfaces. Materials that handle these potential deposits have been referred to in the industry as dispersants, polymers, penetrating agents, deposit control materials, polyelectrolytes, crystal modifiers, antifoulants, sequestrants, mineral stabilizers, antiscalants, surfactants, threshold treatments, mud removers, and emulsifiers. ChemTreat has a full product line to control deposition and fouling, including polyphosphates, organic phosphates, organic polymers, and polyelectrolytes.

Our scale control and deposition control chemistries constitute two classes of dispersants:


Polymers interfere with crystal lattice growth in mineral scale formations and prevent or reverse the growth of dense, adherent mineral deposits. Polymers usually have a low molecular weight to prevent bridging of suspended solids, but they have sufficient structure to adhere to developed scale formations. ChemTreat’s Quadrasperse® is a quadpolymer scale inhibitor technology that remains effective under the most severe temperature and pressure conditions.

Surfactants (Surface-Active Agents)

Surfactants affect surface tension and render particles less adherent and more easily dispersed. These scale inhibitor chemicals also affect the oil/water interface where organic contamination is present.