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A crystal clear view of chalk formation
Date:1/23/2009

s problem causes around 50 billion dollars worth of damage each year in industrial nations. Initially, traditional scale inhibitors fish out the calcium ions from the water, and secondly they bind the tiny precipitated crystals and stop them growing. "Now it will be possible to develop new types of scale inhibitors that prevent the nanoclusters from joining up to form larger structures," says Clfen. "This is more effective than the traditional approaches."

These discoveries about crystallization also have consequences for climate change. The clusters bind carbon dioxide as carbonate. Up to now it has only been known that calcium carbonate mineral stores this greenhouse gas. As the nanoscopic clusters also form in the oceans, they prevent more carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere than previously assumed for calcium carbonate minerals. However, there is a problem: the oceans are acidifying because a considerable proportion of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is dissolving into them as carbonic acid. "When the pH level falls, less carbonate can be bound in the clusters," says Helmut Clfen. This allows more carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere, where it turns the global heating system up another notch.


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Contact: Dr. Helmut Coelfen
helmut.coelfen@mpikg.mpg.de
49-331-567-9513
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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