Using Continuous Helical Flow to Reduce Fouling
It would not be an understatement to say that fouling is one of the costliest recurring problems in hydrocarbon processing, and that it hits process heaters and heat exchangers the hardest. Fouling can have a significant impact on heat transfer across the heat exchanger surface, and so likewise on both overall operational performance and total cost of maintenance.
There is good evidence that preventing build-up is both safer and more cost-effective than detection and removal. While there are many ideas for preventing fouling build-up, it appears a major decrease in the fouling rate can be achieved by using continuous helical flow baffles (CHFs). While these have been around for some time, they have never been available in an electric heat exchanger/process heater. We now have new research showing that such baffles really do help maintain temperatures in a much tighter range, eliminating the dead zones and ‘hotspots’ that produce fouling.