Effects of Phosphonate Structures on Brine-Biotite Interactions under Subsurface Relevant Conditions

Lijie Zhang, Doyoon Kim, Young Shin Jun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Phosphonates have been widely used as scale inhibitors in energy-related subsurface operations, where their performance is greatly affected by interactions with rocks and minerals. However, information about commonly used phosphonate scale inhibitor-shale interactions is limited. In this study, using Fe-bearing mica (biotite) as a model phyllosilicate mineral, the effects of three common phosphonates, namely, iminodi(methylene)phosphonate (IDMP), nitrilotris(methylene)phosphonate (NTMP), and diethylenetriaminepenta(methylene)phosphonate (DTPMP), were studied at 95 °C and 102 atm CO2. During the experiments (0-70 h), IDMP remained stable, while NTMP and DTPMP were degraded and released phosphate, formate, and new phosphonates with smaller molecular weights. As a result of the differences in complexation capability, IDMP, with the fewest phosphonate functional groups, promoted biotite dissolution mainly through surface complexation and DTPMP, with the most functional groups, promoted biotite dissolution mainly through aqueous complexation. Furthermore, the presence of phosphonates enhanced secondary precipitation of P-, Fe-, and Al-bearing minerals, and their phosphonate structures affected the morphologies, phases, and distributions of secondary precipitates. Owing to phosphonate-biotite interactions (mainly as a result of surface adsorption), the biotite surfaces became much more hydrophilic. This study provides new insights into structure-dependent phosphonate-mineral interactions, and the results have important implications for the safety and efficiency of energy-related subsurface operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)946-954
Number of pages9
JournalACS Earth and Space Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 20 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • biotite dissolution
  • engineered subsurface operations
  • phosphonate degradation
  • secondary precipitation
  • wettability alteration


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