First in Class
HTRI's Research & Technology Center (RTC) is a 22,500 ft2 multimillion-dollar research facility in Navasota, TX, USA. It includes twelve 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 testing platforms for
- air coolers designed to API-661 guidelines
- fouling of crude oil and other hydrocarbon feedstocks
- plate heat exchangers in water-water service
- vacuum condensation
- multipurpose boiling
- multipurpose condensation
- visualization of two-phase flow
- prototype heat exchangers
- flows of viscous liquids and slurries
Start a discussion about your testing needs.
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 six 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 noncondensables) 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 enables the study of flow distribution within heat exchangers in an adiabatic environment. Flow devices like spargers and atomizers intermix air (simulating a vapor phase) and water (simulating a liquid phase). The current installation of an air cooler designed according to API 661 allows for development of various flow regimes, qualities, and flow distribution patterns within the inlet header and subsequent tube bundle. The transparent design of the piping, inlet header, and tubes supports visualization of the simulated two-phase flow. With the custom header design, the MVU can operate with any number of rows up to the maximum, and the front header top-plate can be changed to alter nozzle quantity, size, and pattern.
Cooling Water Fouling Unit (CWFU)
The CWFU provides heat transfer, pressure drop, water quality, and fouling resistance data for various cooling waters and tube types/metallurgies. It allows side-by-side comparison of enhanced vs. standard tubes in a wide variety of wall temperatures and flow regimes. The fouling characteristics of test waters can also be measured.
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.