Understanding nucleation of salt deposits (mixing waters)

In summary, the conversation discusses the nucleation process of salt deposits and how it is affected by the presence of certain ions in water. It also explains how the formation of solid salt deposits occurs through a precipitation reaction and the role of unstable atoms in this process. The conversation also mentions the need for activation energy for nucleation to occur and how it can come from various sources.
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I am trying to understand the nucleation process of salt deposits, if someone here could give me a point in the right direction it would be really appreciated.

I read that if you have a water rich in sulfates, and mix with a water rich in barium ions, calcium ions or strontium ions, that a seed can be formed for nucleation of salt deposits (scaling). This occurs when sea water is pumped into an oil well and mixes with the formation water (rock water) of the reservoir. The article says, "deposits result from supersaturation where unstable atoms tend to join". What does it mean by unstable atoms? Where does the energy (if there is such a thing) for the nucleation come from? Since there is formation of a solid does this indicate some sort of precipitation reaction?

If anyone is familiar with the chemistry that might be occurring in this process, it would be very useful to have their opinion on this.

Thanks in advance for any help.
 
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Every nucleation requires some activation energy - and it can come from any typical source (like any local fluctuation in temperature or pressure).

I suppose by "unstable" they mean excess that has to be removed for the system to get to the equilibrium (if it is oversaturated, it is not there).
 
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Borek said:
Every nucleation requires some activation energy - and it can come from any typical source (like any local fluctuation in temperature or pressure).

I suppose by "unstable" they mean excess that has to be removed for the system to get to the equilibrium (if it is oversaturated, it is not there).

Thank you Borek for that interpretation it is very helpful.
 

1. What is nucleation?

Nucleation is the process by which small particles or molecules come together to form a larger structure. In the context of salt deposits, nucleation refers to the formation of solid salt crystals from dissolved salt in water.

2. How do salt deposits form through nucleation?

Salt deposits form through nucleation when two bodies of water with different salt concentrations mix together. As the water with higher salt concentration mixes with the water with lower salt concentration, the dissolved salt molecules start to come together and form solid crystals.

3. What factors influence the nucleation of salt deposits?

The rate of nucleation for salt deposits is influenced by several factors, including temperature, pressure, and the concentration and type of salts present. A change in any of these factors can affect the number and size of salt crystals formed.

4. How do scientists study the nucleation of salt deposits?

Scientists study the nucleation of salt deposits through various methods, such as laboratory experiments, field observations, and computer simulations. These methods allow them to control and manipulate different variables to better understand the process of salt deposit formation.

5. Why is it important to understand the nucleation of salt deposits?

Understanding the nucleation of salt deposits is important for various reasons. It can help us predict and prevent the formation of undesirable salt deposits, such as in industrial equipment or water pipes. It also plays a crucial role in natural processes, such as the formation of salt flats and the salinity of oceans.

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