The nucleation and growth of silica nanoparticles in supersaturated geothermal waters was simulated using a flow-through geothermal simulator system. The effect of silica concentration ([SiO2]), ionic strength (IS), temperature (T) and organic additives on the size and polydispersity of the forming silica nanoparticles was quantified. A decrease in temperature (58 to 33°C) and the addition of glucose restricted particle growth to sizes <20 nm, while varying [SiO2] or IS did not affect the size (30–35 nm) and polydispersity (±9 nm) observed at 58°C. Conversely, the addition of xanthan gum induced the development of thin films that enhanced silica aggregation.

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