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Fouling in Heat Ex Changers

Fouling in Heat Ex Changers

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Published by Kehinde_Adeton_1313

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Published by: Kehinde_Adeton_1313 on May 01, 2012
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Foulings in heat exchanger is inevitable

The relatively thin and thermally conductive walls – both characteristics selected primarily for heat transfer efficiency – of the tube bundles within the Tube-and-Shell Heat Exchanger are critical components to be kept free from fouling as these tubes are the center of the heat removal system. The thin tube wall is also most vulnerable to puncture failure due to corrosion attacks. Hence by maintaining the tube wall to be foul-free will prevent biocorrosion and under-deposit corrosion. The accumulation of fouling materials over the inner diameter of such tubes will lead to a degradation of heat transfer and will affect the reliability and efficiency of the overall system performance of the heat exchanger. The secondary effect of foulings is the corrosion process that follows.

The extent of foulings at different stages of formation, and the different types of foulings are illustrated as follows:
Choking of condenser tubes will reduce the heat transfer efficiency and increase the head pressure of the pump leading to higher energy cost. The plugging up of the heat exchange tubes are due to a combination of biological fouling leading to MIC corrosion and the accumulation of corrosion products like iron oxides and micro-organisms’ slime.

Any types of fouling would eventually lead to the initiation of corrosion process. Once corrosion begins, the metal surface will form corrosion products i.e., iron oxide flakes and oxide particles, adding suspended solids to the condenser circulating water stream. The suspended corrosion products could cause further abrasive damage to the tube surface due to the force of moving water

the main entry point of factors influencing MIC is via the cooling tower whereby microorganism. MIC can attack any piping system given the proper conditions to flourish.Biofilm foulings & MIC cost industries billions annually Bio-foulings and Microbiological Influence Corrosion (MIC) are common problems found in many commercial and industrial properties simply due to the fact that microbiological communities are such common inhabitants in our environment. nutrients. etc gain access into the heart of the heat exchanger. Biological fouling costs industry billions. The volume of the slime produced can exceed the mass of the bacterial cells by a factor of 100 or more which can impede flow and drastically reduce the heat transfer efficiency and increase the head pressure of the pump leading to higher energy cost. debris. if not constantly and consistently removed. Such extreme slime production can choke and plug up the tubes – as shown in this case. will progressively increase head pressure and eventually lead to plugged tubes. leaves. pollens. oxygen and sunlight that promote the growth of microorganisms that can often lead to MIC contamination. Biofoulings and MIC are most commonly found in open condenser water and process cooling loops because of favourable environment conditions normally encountered. The increase head pressure and the plugging up of the heat exchanger tubes will lead to higher energy consumption and higher maintenance costs. promote MIC and under-deposit corrosions. and encourage the growth and spread of microbiological communities leading to severe corrosion problems. suspended solids. MIC-based corrosion is extremely aggressive and difficult to eliminate. An open loop condenser water system offers abundant nutrients. 2 . Such interior deposits provide attachment points for microbes and nutrients. Biofilm consists of microbial cells (primarily algae or bacterial) and they produce a gooey by-products known as ‘slime’ as shown here. For open systems. dirt. and eventually cause flow rate problems. The extent of bio-foulings are illustrated as follows: The build-up of fouling materials at inlets of the condenser tubes. The continuous accumulation of fouling materials over the internal surface of the condenser tubes will degrade the heat transfer ability.

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