What is fouling?
Fouling is the attachment of contamination to the heat-transfer surface, which reduces the heat-transfer coefficiency. This leads to an increase in pressure-drop and higher energy consumption. In the worst cases, heavy contamination can damage the heat exchanger and even lead to failure.
Fouling can often be eliminated if it is discussed during the design phase. The correct mitigation of fouling begins with understanding the fouling mechanisms that can occur, which are typically divided into six main groups:
- particulate fouling
- biological fouling
- chemical reactions