F-EX-1-8 Plate Heat Exchanger Fouling Study

J. W. Suitor

This report presents the results of the tests conducted for fouling of plate heat exchangers (PHEs). General fouling theory as it pertains to cooling water is discussed. Equipment used in the program, test site, and test procedures are described. Results are compared to shellside and tubeside fouling. The results show the PHE to foul less than the shell side or tube side of a shell-and-tube exchanger under typical operating conditions. The PHE was less sensitive to silt fouling than the shell side of a shell-and-tube exchanger. PHE fouling occurs non-uniformly along the length of the plates. Since the plate-to-plate clearance is very small, exceptionally heavy fouling results in plugged flow channels. Fouling resistances measured were found to be 25 percent of the recommended TEMA fouling resistance for shell-and-tube exchangers. The use of TEMA fouling resistances seriously penalizes the PHE overall heat transfer coefficient and should be avoided in comparing shell-and-tube and PHE heat transfer performance.