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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)

HEAT TRANSFER FOULING RESEARCH IS IT TIME FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT?

Hans Muller-Steinhagen
Institute for Technical Thermodynamics, German Aerospace Research Centre (DLR), Stuttgart; Institute for Thermodynamics and Thermal Engineering, University of Stuttgart, Germany Pfaffenwaldring 38-40, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany

Abstract

Deposit formation is an intrinsic problem of heat exchanger operation and has been recognized as such since the industrial revolution. Empirical approaches to counteract the detrimental effects of deposit formation range from a wide spectrum of additives, via modifications of heat exchanger design and processing conditions, to attempts of predicting the frequency of cleaning schedules. While fouling has long been neglected as a serious research topic, there has been a 'mini-boom' of fouling research during the past 10−15 years, with research teams all-over the world attempting to attack this problem. Nevertheless, the initial progress with respect to the analysis of fouling mechanisms and the effect of operating parameters on deposition has only produced few tangible benefits for industrial applications. It is, therefore, appropriate to review the progress resulting from almost 20 years of relatively intense fouling research critically, and to change the research strategy in those areas which have no further potential for innovative fouling mitigation strategies.