One of the major indeterminates in the design as well as operation of heat exchangers is the rate of fouling a select heat exchanger geometry would exhibit over the operation cycles.
Gradual deterioration of heat exchanger performance due to the accumulation of fouling film on the heat transfer surface is often accounted for in the form of a fouling resistance, or commonly known as the fouling factor, while determining the heat transfer surface required for a specific heat duty.
More often, the fouling mechanism responsible for the deterioration of heat exchanger performance is flow-velocity dependent. Maldistribution of flow, wakes and eddies caused by poor heat exchanger geometry can have detrimental effect on heat exchanger performance and reliability.
Helixchanger heat exchangers have demonstrated significant improvements in the fouling behavior of heat exchangers in operation. In a Helixchanger heat exchanger, the quadrant shaped shellside baffle plates are arranged at an angle to the tube axis creating a helical flow pattern on the shellside. Uniform velocities and near plug flow conditions achieved in a Helixchanger heat exchanger, provide low fouling characteristics, offering longer heat exchanger run-lengths between scheduled cleaning of tube bundles.
This article demonstrates the Helixchanger heat exchanger option in reducing the velocity-dependent fouling in heat exchangers.