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  • Pilar G. Burkhard

Deposit Analysis

Why Testing Scale Is Important

Keeping industrial heating and cooling systems clean and free of scale is vitally important to a system’s efficiency. Scale buildup increases the pressure needed to pump water and decreases heat transfer efficiency. This can lead to dramatically increased energy consumption and operational costs over time.

Knowing what type of scale (e.g., calcium carbonate or silica) is accumulating in your system, can provide information on the cause of the problem and the best course of action to remediate the problem.

New Chemical Instrumentation

Chem Inc. labs has recently made the investment in state-of-the-art technology with the acquisition of a new Agilent ICP-OES (inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectrometer). ICP-OES is an analytical technique used to determine how much of a certain element is in a sample.

This high-tech piece of equipment allows us to obtain a greater range of testing capabilities and enhanced accuracy in our results.

The Agilent 5800 ICP-OES thinks like an expert with built-in smart functionality, to give our customers more confidence in their results.

Learn more about your samples!

When you bring in your samples for analysis at Chem Inc., you get a comprehensive and complete understanding of what is in your sample. Our current analysis can detect the following elements at a ppm concentration in your sample(s):

​Aluminum (Al)

Arsenic (As)

Barium (Ba)

Beryllium (Be)

Cadmium (Cd)

Calcium (Ca)

Carbonate (CO3)*

Chromium (Cr)

Cobalt (Co)

Copper (Cu)

Fluoride (F)

Iron (Fe)

Lead (Pb)

Magnesium (Mg)

Manganese (Mn)

Molybdenum (Mo)

Nickel (Ni)

Organic Material*

Phosphorus (P)

Potassium (K)

Selenium (Se)

Silicon (Si)

Sodium (Na)

Strontium (Sr)

Sulfur (S)

Vanadium (V)

Zinc (Zn)

*Analyte measured by loss on ignition

Because our analysis can detect almost all organic and inorganic materials, you will be able to identify and know up to 100% of what is in your sample with confidence. If there is an element of interested not listed, our lab staff can work with you to obtain your testing goals.

Intelligent Analysis

Our analysis includes a built-in software that provides semiquantitative data that scans the entire spectral range. This allows us to provide our customers a periodic table “heat map”, which enables a quick visualization of the content of their samples as seen below:

Learn more about your samples!

Our “Most Probable Combinations” analysis is where our expertise in the industry comes to play. Our analysis goes above-and-beyond by taking the elemental analysis and interpreting the results to give you an understanding of the mineral combinations that make up your sample.

Our scientists can give you a precise concentration of some of the most common minerals encountered in the field so that you can make an informed decision about the best remediation steps to take. Our “Most Probable Combinations” analysis can identify compounds such as the following:

  • Aluminum oxide (Al2O3)

  • Calcium carbonate (CaCO3)

  • Calcium phosphate (Ca3(PO4)2)

  • Copper oxide (CuO)

  • Iron oxide (Fe2O3)

  • Magnesium carbonate (MgCO3)

  • Magnesium silicate (MgSiO3)

  • Silica (SiO2)

  • Zinc oxide (ZnO)

How the Analysis Works

STEP 1: Fill out the Chain of Custody (COC) form and check the box for “Deposit Analysis”. This form can either be downloaded from our website or requested via email.

STEP 2: Send the COC form with about 5 grams of solid, dry sample to the Chem Inc. lab.

STEP 3: Once the sample is received by our staff, we will perform a two-part analysis.

  • Part 1 – A high temperature furnace is used to measure weight loss-on-ignition at various temperatures. This gives us information about organic material and carbonate in a sample.

  • Part 2 – A strong acid and heat digestion method is used to completely solubilize the sample, which is then introduced to the ICP-OES for analysis.

STEP 4: Once the analysis is complete, you will receive a detailed report. This report will answer the question of “what is this?” and will give you valuable information to address and fix any problems within the system you are treating.

Our analysis turn-around time for a complete deposit analysis is 3-4 business days. We also have an option for an expedited analysis with a turn-around time of 2 business days for an additional charge.

Abbreviations and Terms:

Acid Digestion

The decomposition of a sample in strong acid to obtain the sample in a liquid form


Chain of custody (Form to be filled out and sent to the lab with sample(s))


A method for estimating organic matter based on gravimetric weight change associated with high temperature oxidation of organic matter.


Inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectrometer (equipment used for chemical analysis)

Inorganic material

​Matter which is not derived from living organisms and contains no organically produced carbon (ex: rocks, minerals, metals).

Organic Material

Carbon-based compounds that come from either natural or engineered sources (ex: plants, organic polymers, fibers).


Parts per million (0.0001%)

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