Dr. Cristina Ruiz-Agudo (Postdoc)


fon +49 (0)7531 88-4808

room L1051


since 08/2016

University of Konstanz

Post-Doctoral researcher in the Physical Chemistry Department in Dr. Denis Gebauer’s group, in collaboration with the group of Prof. Andreas Marx



PhD at Westfälische Wilhelms University of Münster, Institute of Mineralogy

Dissertation: A non-classical analysis of BaSO4 precipitation and the role of organic polyelectrolytes

Degree: Suma cum laude (highest grade)

Early researcher within the Marie Curie Initial Training Network MINSC (Mineral Scale Formation: from the atomic to the field scale).



Graduation in Civil Engineering (Bsc. & Msc.) at the University of Granada (Granada, Spain)

Dissertation Project: “Design and construction project of new national road”



Research Interest

My research interests involve the study of the effect of different organic macromolecules on the precipitation of minerals such as calcium carbonate, barium sulphate and calcium sulphate.


CaCO3, BaSO4 and CaSO4 are problematic because a large number of industries have to deal with scale formation problems including paper-making, chemical manufacturing, cement operations, off-shore oil extraction, and geothermal energy production. The strategy most commonly used to reduce or prevent scale formation is by the periodic injection of water containing trace amounts of chemical scale inhibitors (usually phosphonates or carboxylates) into the well (threshold treatment) [1]. Thus understanding the role of organic additives in modulating nucleation and early growth of sparingly soluble minerals is critical for improving strategies that prevent scale formation [2].


As well, I am interested on the study of calcium carbonate precipitation with the aim of designing advanced CaCO3 structures in which morphologies could be tuned by the used of taylor-made organic molecules. Biominerals are often used as models for the design of the advanced materials due to their unique structures and properties provided by the living being that created them in order to carry out specific functions (e.g. protection, defense or support). The organic matrix found in biominerals is diverse and it is believed to be the fundamental in the crystallization of biogenic crystalline materials [3]. However, the precise role that organic macromolecules play in biomineralization is still unknown. In order to control calcium carbonate precipitation a deeper understanding of the interactions between organic molecules and mineral precursor phases (e.g. prenucleation clusters [4], liquid precursors [5], amorphous phases [6]) is needed.


[1] Van Rosmalen, G.M., 1983. Scale prevention with special reference to threshold treatment. Chem. Eng. Comm. 20 (3-4), 209–233.

[2] Verch, A., Gebauer, D., Antonietti, M., Cölfen, H., 2011. How to control the scaling of CaCO3: a "fingerprinting technique" to classify additives. Phys. Chem. Chem.Phys. 13 (37), 16811–16820.

[3] S. Albeck, S. Weiner, L. Addadi, Polysaccharides of intracrystalline glycoproteins modulate calcite crystal growth in vitro. Chem. Eur. J. 1996, 2, 278–284.

[4] Gebauer, D., Völkel, A., Cölfen, H., 2008. Stable prenucleation calcium carbonate clusters. Science 322 (5909), 1819–1822.

[5] Gower, L.B., Odom, D.J., 2000. Deposition of calcium carbonate films by a polymer-induced liquidprecursor (PILP) process. J. Cryst. Growth 210 (4), 719–734.

[6] Cartwright, J.E., Checa, A.G., Gale, J.D., Gebauer, D: Sainz-Díaz, C. I., 2012. Calcium carbonate polyamorphism and its role in biomineralization: how many amorphous calcium carbonates are there? Angew. Chem. 51 (48), 11960–11970.




Ruiz-Agudo C, Putnis C V, Putnis A, (2014) “The effect of a copolymer inhibitor on barite precipitation”, Mineralogical Magazine 78(6) 1423–1430. 10.1180/minmag.2014.078.6.09


Ruiz-Agudo C, Putnis C V, Ruiz-Agudo E, Putnis A, (2015) “The influence of pH on barite nucleation and growth”, Chemical Geology 391 7–18. 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2014.10.023


Ruiz-Agudo C, Ruiz-Agudo E, Putnis C V, Putnis A, (2015) “Mechanistic Principles of Barite Formation: From Nanoparticles to Micron-Sized Crystals”, Crystal Growth Design 15 (8) 3724–3733. 10.1021/acs.cgd.5b00315


Ruiz-Agudo C, Putnis C V, Ruiz-Agudo E, Putnis A, (2015) “Mecanismos de precipitación de BaSO4 y el efecto de aditivos” Macla, 20, 125-126.


Ruiz-Agudo C, Ruiz-Agudo E, Burgos-Cara A, Putnis C V, Ibáñez-Velasco A, Rodríguez-Navarro C, Putnis A, (2016) “Exploring the effect of polyacrylic acid on pre- and post-nucleation BaSO4 species: new insights into the mechanisms of crystallization control by polyelectrolytes”, CrystEngComm,18, 2830-2842. 10.1039/c6ce00142d


Ruiz-Agudo C, Putnis C V, Ibáñez-Velasco A, Ruiz-Agudo E, Putnis A, (2016) “A potentiometric study of the performance of a commercial copolymer in the precipitation of scale forming minerals” CrystEngComm, 18, 5744-5753. 10.1039/c6ce00537c




Young researcher award by the Spanish Mineralogy Society (Sociedad Española de Mineralogía, SEM). Huelva (Spain) 2015.


Heitfeld-Preis for the best PhD theses in 2015 of the Institut für Geologie und Paläontologie of the University of Münster (2016).