Heat Exchanger Surface Treatment for Heat Transfer Efficiency Preservation
Heat exchanger fouling is a pervasive issue that can result in major performance and operational issues. Over time, exchanger tubes and/or surfaces can become covered by naturally built-up deposits or biofouling that form an insulating layer.
As the heat transfer surfaces become coated by particles, heat transfer becomes less and less efficient until the unit needs to be taken offline and cleaned, or even replaced. Maintenance or servicing can be extremely costly and negatively impacts operations. Various strategies have been developed to reduce fouling in heat exchangers. However, while many anti‐fouling solutions have been successfully demonstrated in the laboratory, they are typically expensive, decrease heat transfer performance, are not durable, and fail to demonstrate the same benefits under industry comparable process conditions.
HeatX is a functionalized surface treatment with high water and oil repellency that creates an extremely low-friction surface upon which biofouling is unable to take hold. HeatX treatment can be applied to a variety of form factors including the interior of tubes in both straight and U-tube shell-and-tube configurations, as well as plate-and-frame exchangers.
The unique surface nature of HeatX offers extremely low adhesion at thicknesses that have no insulating effect on the tubulars or heat exchange surfaces. This means that heat transfer efficiency is improved and preserved. In installations with HECO (Hawaii Electric Company), HeatX extended the lifespan between cleanings of a seawater fed shell-and-tube exchange from 6 months to 26 months.