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Fouling


  Fouling, in technical language, is the general term of unwanted material which is accumulating on surfaces, such as inside pipes, machines or heat exchangers. This accumulation lead to various problems in liquid bearing systems. The rate of fouling depends the so called fouling factor, which varies from liquid to liquid, where always the temperature plays a key role.
The unwanted material is either carried by the liquid in our case the water, for instance when the water is from a bore well, water from a river, or seawater. This can be sand, mud, organic material such as algae or bacteria. Or the unwanted material is solved in the liquid, in majority such as calcium carbonate and other salts.
Very often the water is used for heating or cooling purposes during the process, which causes the solved in purities in the water to precipitate and stick to the inner surfaces. Corrosion is adding to the fouling as well, as rust has a bigger volume then the steel before. Finally there is the so called biofouling which might occur in a water system, when organic matter is brought in from outside, either together with the feed water or from an open cooling tower. This organic material might start to grow under favorable conditions inside a system and slowly close the pipes or machinery.
As can be seen on the picture above is a totally fouled tubular heat exchanger. This happen in a cooling system of a refinery, which was treated by all kind of chemicals, in order to stop the fouling, scaling and corrosion. As could be clearly seen this chemical treatment failed, and the header looked like in the picture after two years of operation.

As the PursanovaTM Disks are fighting all the major reasons for the fouling, such as scaling , corrosion and biofouling, the resulting fouling which is very often a combination of several reason is also fought very successful by PursanovaTM Disks. Of course PursanovaTM is not able to fight the materials carried by the liquid such as sand or mud, to get rid of these filter systems should be installed. But having less scale or corrosion in a pipe, gives the sand or mud less hold on the inner surface of a pipe, and so these impurities are more likely taken downstream by the liquid. You also will find a row of case studies, like fouling in refinery, fouling in fresh water generator or fouling in condenser, all giving examples of successful minimizing or even entirely stopping the fouling.

Lately PursanovaTM started to work even on fouling on Hydro Carbons, for instance in heat exchangers in refineries. Depending on the composition of the crude, improvements on the fouling can be seen.