Heat Exchanger Problems
Common Heat Exchanger Problems
Heat exchangers are prone to having various performance problems, which is why so many process plants will work hard to try and find heat exchanger solutions to help prevent the heat exchanger performing poorly. Some turbulators can help improve the performance in exchangers and also help reduce the amount of energy needed to run the plant which can make them the ideal solutions to use within the process plant. Information below shows some of the most common heat exchanger problems.
The most common place you would find the below issues would be within tubular heat exchangers, this type of heat exchanger is the most common used within process plants. hiTRAN, which is developed by Cal Gavin, has become one of the leading tools to be used by engineers to help reduce and even fix these issues. hiTRAN can provide an economical answer to a range of the issues which might be found within heat exchangers and can ensure your process plant performs to the best of its ability.
The main issue in heat exchangers is fouling which is the biggest issue process engineers will have to overcome. Fouling mitigation solutions have been developed to help reduce the risk of fouling in heat exchangers. Fouling within heat exchangers can lead to poor energy being conducted and restricted throughput which can also lead to very high maintenance costs. Fouling is a very strong subject within the heat exchanger industry and not one which is fully understood, but some aspects of fouling are very well known which means engineers can work hard to reduce the amount of aggravation which can be caused within your heat exchanger.
Research has indicated that some of the main characteristics which can cause fouling are down to the properties of the thermal and hydrodynamic boundary levels; this means any strategy which is put in place to try and reduce the fouling mitigation problem will need to take this information into account.
One of the other key problems which can be caused within heat exchangers is maldistribution which is where the flow within your heat exchanger will not be how it should, which can cause various other issues. The key issue behind having poor maldistribution is the reduced thermal performance which will cause various issues within your heat exchanger and your process plant. When designing heat exchangers, the flow will always try to be designed so it will work in flow however in some cases this cannot happen which is how maldistribution can occur.
Turndown can be another problem within heat exchangers a lot of the time, as long as the flow remains in the turbulent regime across the range. The heat exchanger and the performance of that heat exchanger can be predictable and can be controlled. However, if tubeside flow regime drops down into transitional or laminar region, then the performance can become more difficult to predict which means you cannot control the outcome.
This issue means that any small changes which might be made to the throughput can lead to massive changes within the heat exchanger outlet temperatures which will cause issues within your process plant.
The performance of your heat exchanger will always be an important issue and something a lot of chemical engineers will continuously look to improve and change depending on the plant and the issues surrounding the performance. Heat exchangers will always try and aim for high heat transfer coefficient. However, within some heat exchangers this can be very hard to achieve which can lead to some issues with the performance of your heat exchanger.
Some problems which can cause these performance issues within your heat exchanger are mainly down to the properties which have been set within the tubeside fluid, which might be things like high viscosity or even a low thermal conductivity. Occasionally, low heat transfer rates are a consequence of the arrangement of the heat exchanger. For example, when single pass tube bundles are required this can cause issues with low heat transfer.
Many of the performance issues which might happen within heat exchangers can be avoided by looking into the use of heat transfer enhancement which will help reduce any issues you might be having within your exchanger. There are other performance issues which can also cause various heat exchanger problems which can lead to other problems within your process plant.
Saving energy within your process plant is always going to be a major problem within most heat exchangers and, with energy costs on the rise, it has become a key issue for process plants to try and look into new ways to try and reduce the amount of energy being used within your process plant. New government legislation is also focusing attention on achieving energy reduction to help meet economic and environmental expectations.
All processes have to be operated at a certain level to ensure they can achieve the performance and energy conservation which has been set out by the heat exchanger design. Many of the key heat exchanger solutions can also help reduce costs involved in running heat exchangers. These solutions can also help reduce fouling occurring within your exchanger.
All of these solutions will play a key part in ensuring your heat exchanger can be problem free and operate for optimum performance all year round, Heat exchangers are very common and can cause issues in process plants around the world, almost all heat exchanger problems can be overcome by installing hiTRAN turbulators.