Increased Calcite Nuclearion (ICN) to Prevent Scaling in Boilers

EResearching an Alternative to Water Softeners

Research Background

The Environmental Water System manufactures ICN Conditioners for physical conditioning, as an alternative to salt softening. The ICN conditioner acts as a catalyst in the water. The bonds that trap foreign particles to water molecules are broken and those foreign particles are exposed to the open solution. The surfaces of these particles become available as nucleation points for the hardness minerals. The minerals cluster together to form microscopic seed crystals around the nucleation points. This process is called increased calcite nucleation (ICN). All the hardness minerals in the vicinity of these seed crystals eventually come in contact with its surface. The hardness minerals solidify there and no longer have an affinity for hard surfaces with which the water comes in contact [5]. The process is electrolytic with metal ion (Zn) dosing and the use of dissimilar metals which block scale growth sites and/or react with carbonate. The water forms the electrolyte in a galvanic cell as it flows through the cathode and active anode of the device. The dissolved zinc ions at the active anode site act as nucleation sites for scale precipitation when water is heated. More of the less sticky needle-like aragonite forms instead of calcite which is usually associated with scale build up

Research Descrption

The chiller and boiler plants at NAU are currently using chemical softeners which create scaling on pipe systems. The NAU office of sustainability has asked the team to look in to installation of the ICN technique as an alternative to the current system. Hence, the research is focused on determining the ability of ICN conditioned water to prevent scaling under boiler operating conditions.

research Goal

The research project proposes to test the ability of an alternative technology for water conditioning in boilers at the South boiler plant at NAU. The following diagram shows part of NAU South boiler plants’ boiler system.

NAU South Boiler and Chiller Plant Information


S San Francisco St, Flagstaff, AZ 86011

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