A Standardized Test Protocol for Evaluation of Scale Reduction Technologies

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Precipitation of calcium carbonate (i.e., scaling) can occur in both traditional tank (electric and gas) and "green" tankless hot water systems that have implications for public health, water and energy sustainability, infrastructure damage, and consumer esthetics. There are many scale reduction devices and technologies that aim to reduce or eliminate such problems, and several standardized methods have been proposed to research their performance with scientific rigor. All of the existing approaches were inherently nonreproducible or could not quantify important aspects of scale deposition, including quantity, location, and deposit durability. Here we develop and vet a Standardized Scaling Test Protocol that overcomes many of these deficiencies, using a laboratory-scale model premise plumbing system and a synthesized synthetic scaling water that could be reproduced in any laboratory. This approach produced 25.1 g of calcium carbonate scaling (95% confidence interval of 20.3-29.8 g, n = 3) in similar to 5 days. Illustrative scale reduction for a range of representative technologies, including cation exchange, electrochemical deionization, magnetism, electric field generator, media-induced precipitation, phosphate sacrificial media, and citric acid sacrificial media, ranged from 0% to 100% using the standardized protocol. The general approach was also applied to suitable local natural water with high scaling potential, and similar capabilities were observed.

calcium carbonate, scale reduction, water heater