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Fouling of Heat Exchangers

DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.1981.AdvCourseHeatExch.510
pages 795-815

Norman Epstein
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1W5, Canada


The fouling of heat transfer surfaces, which gives rise to high economic penalties and is still dealt with by heat exchanger designers using the crude TEMA approach, is classified into six principal categories. The measurement of thermal fouling is critically described and this is followed by a discussion of the successive events, up to five in number, which characterize most fouling situations. The effect of fouling on enhanced surfaces is analytically distinguished from its effect on extended surfaces. Graphical procedures are presented for determining the optimum cleaning cycles for a heat exchanger when the cleaning time is composed of both a constant portion, θcc, and a variable portion, θcv, which is directly proportional to the cumulative throughput between cleanings.

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