Accounting for the thermal resistance of cooling water fouling in plate heat exchangers

Olga P. Arsenyeva, Barry Crittenden, Mangyan Yang, Petro O. Kapustenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (SciVal)


Of the many different approaches available to mitigate fouling, the use of enhanced heat transfer surfaces is a principal method. The flow in channels of plate heat exchangers (PHEs) has high levels of turbulence due to the channels intricate geometry. In principle therefore, this type of heat transfer augmentation should lead to fouling mitigation. The effects of process parameters on fouling in PHE channels are studied in this article. The asymptotic behaviour of water fouling is examined specifically and the net rate of fouling accumulation is described as the difference between the fouling deposition rate and the fouling removal rate. An equation is proposed to account for how the fouling resistance varies with time. The conclusion is that for scaling there exist threshold conditions on wall shear stress, wall temperature and salt content, beyond which fouling deposition starts. The fouling deposition rate expression proposed for tubes incorporating heat transfer enhancement as used by Yang and Crittenden is adapted to be used in a new model for PHEs. Comparison with experimental data published in the literature reveals good agreement with the proposed model. The model can then be used to predict cooling water fouling development over time for all the heat exchangers in a chosen industrial circuit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2013


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