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Proceedings of an International Conference on Mitigation of Heat Exchanger Fouling and Its Economic and Environmental Implications

ISSN:
1-56700-172-6 (Print)

FOULING MITIGATION IN POLYMER FILM COMPACT HEAT EXCHANGERS

M.S. EL-Bourawi
Department of Chemical and Process Engineering University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K

C. Ramshaw
Department of Chemical and Process Engineering University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K

Abstract

A new type of compact heat exchanger has recently been developed and patented by the Centre for Process Intensification and Innovation (CPU) at Newcastle University. It comprises a matrix of cross-corrugated polymer films having a typical area density of around 1500 m2/m3, and has been shown to have a very high heat transfer performance. In view of understandable reservations regarding the fouling implications of a relatively narrow (1mm) channels, fouling tests have been performed with a particle system comprising several grades of alumina in the range of 0.015-88 µm. The most effective fouling mitigation technique was found to be the injection of air bubbles which rapidly cleared surface deposits of the particles. It was also observed that flow pulsation helped to release the particles and restore the efficiency. It is believed that the smoothness of the polymer films is an important factor in assisting deposit removal.