F1RST IN CLASS
HTRI's Research & Technology Center (RTC) is a 22,500 ft2 multimillion-dollar research facility in Navasota, TX, USA. It includes eleven operating research units as well as support facilities and equipment. The RTC enhances our research capabilities by providing a controlled environment for testing.
The research units provide a platform for
- air cooler studies for API-661 designs
- testing fouling of crude oil and other hydrocarbon feedstocks
- testing performance of plate heat exchangers under water-water service
- vacuum condensation studies
- multipurpose boiling studies
- multipurpose condensation studies
- visualization studies of two-phase flow
- performance testing of prototype heat exchangers
- flow testing of viscous liquids and slurries
To learn more about our heat transfer testing services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These research units can be customized to meet the changing needs of our customers. We are also available to conduct research and to construct new rigs under contract.
Air-cooled Unit (ACU)
The ACU is an industrial-scale air cooler designed according to practical API 661 guidelines, with reconfigurable mechanical components. Incorporating two fan cells, this test unit also features a fixed tube bundle layout with the option of forced-draft or induced-draft plenums. To record airside measurements, a traverse system holds various anemometers and thermocouples, as well as static and total pressure sensors. Psychrometric and wind measurements are also recorded.
High Temperature Fouling Unit (HTFU-1)
Using two parallel test sections for a single fluid, the HTFU-1 provides thermal fouling and pressure drop data for hydrocarbon fluids (e.g., gas oils or crude oils) in any flow regime for any metallurgy.
High Temperature Fouling Unit 2 (HTFU-2)
Similar to the HTFU-1, the HTFU-2 provides thermal fouling and pressure drop data for hydrocarbon fluids (e.g., gas oils or crude oils) in any flow regime for any metallurgy. The unit also has the capability to perform tests on up to four different test sections.
Rotating Fouling Unit (RFU)
The RFU provides screening results for crude oil fouling studies. It operates on minimal volume (3.8 L/1.0 gal) and has a heated probe with a spinning cup around the probe to induce flow. The unit has lower shear stress, resulting in shorter run times and faster fouling rates. These features make it ideal as a preliminary research tool.
Liquid-Liquid Heat Exchanger (LLHE)
The LLHE is primarily used to evaluate cooling equipment. This unit is the largest capacity rig in operation at HTRI in terms of flow rates and duty, and consists of cold and hot water sub-loops.
Low Pressure Condensation Unit (LPCU)
The LPCU collects heat transfer and pressure drop data of condensing and single-phase flows over a wide range of vacuum conditions. Hydrocarbons and refrigerants are used as test fluids. The unit features a low temperature chiller and can be configured for tubeside or shellside testing.
Multipurpose Boiling Unit (MBU)
The MBU measures heat transfer for different flow boiling regimes and boiling mechanisms, as well as pressure drop for various two-phase flow patterns. The unit can examine different geometries, including compact heat exchangers and enhanced tubes using pure fluids or hydrocarbon mixtures.
Multipurpose Condensation Unit (MCU)
The MCU tests pure components and hydrocarbon mixtures (with and without non-condensables) to measure condensation heat transfer and pressure drop performance of shell-and-tube and compact heat exchangers. Tests can cover a wide range of operating conditions, including vacuum and high pressure.
Multipurpose Visualization Unit (MVU)
The MVU allows qualitative and quantitative flow visualization of two-phase air/water flows in process heat exchanger equipment. The unit's test section is a transparent shell-and-tube exchanger (TSTX) that can be easily reconfigured with different bundle layouts and baffle types, cuts, and spacings.
Pipe Flow and Serpentine Loops on the MVU
The Pipe Flow and Serpentine Loops on the MVU enable the study of two-phase flow regimes in large diameter pipes. Both loops were constructed using transparent piping, allowing for flow visualization. The pipe flow loop facilitates research on upflow, horizontal flow, and downflow; the serpentine loop facilitates fired heater research.
Prototype Test Unit (PTU)
The PTU is used to develop and validate thermal design methods for industrial-sized reboilers, condensers, or general purpose exchangers. The unit features a vertical separation tank with up to four prototype exchangers. Bundles or cores can be tested in boiling, condensing, single-phase vapor, or single-phase liquid service, with a variety of hydrocarbon-based fluids from viscous laminar up to turbulent service. The vertical separation tank facilitates testing of thermosiphon reboilers.
Tubeside Single-Phase Unit (TSPU)
The TSPU features two single-tube test sections: one where the tubeside fluid is heated and one where it is cooled. A progressive cavity pump is used to circulate the fluid, which can include high viscosity liquids, non-Newtonian fluids, and slurries. It is ideal for testing tube inserts.