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International Heat Transfer Conference 15

ISSN: 2377-424X (online)
ISSN: 2377-4371 (flashdrive)

Effect of Sand Fouling on Compact Fin Heat Exchangers

Sarah Obadina
University of Maryland

Josh Fody
University of Maryland

Serguei V. Dessiatoun
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA

Michael M. Ohadi
Small and Smart Thermal Systems Laboratory, Center for Energy Environmental Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA

Amir H. Shooshtari
Advanced Heat Exchangers and Process Intensification Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA

DOI: 10.1615/IHTC15.hex.008503
pages 3513-3526

KEY WORDS: Heat exchanger, Measurement and instrumentation, Pressure Drop Analysis, Heat exchanger performance


Current pan-industry trends in technology development have resulted in the need for more compact heat exchangers with high effectiveness and at reduced size, weight, and pumping power requirements (SwAP). In most cases this has resulted in higher fin density and narrower fluid passages, thus substantially increasing the potential for fouling. In applications where compact heat exchangers are exposed to harsh environmental conditions, such as those designed for field use in desert climates, certain military field use, and off-road conditions, contamination fouling is of particular concern. While in the past there has been considerable research studying contamination fouling on liquid heat exchangers, the research related to particulate fouling on air-side heat exchangers has remained limited; therefore, the available data are generally inadequate. The issue of particulate fouling has been aggravated in recent years due to the need for systems to operate in harsh environments. The current study focuses on sand fouling in air cooled, highly compact heat exchangers. The driving variable that was measured during the sand fouling process was the differential pressure drop across the heat exchanger. Five samples were tested with fin counts of 31, 38, 47, 18, and 28 fins per inch (FPI). Tests were run based on MIL-Std-810E standard-specified duration, and results are reported for parametric variation of the velocity, sand concentration, test sample geometry, fin density, and humidity levels that collectively characterized the fouling phenomenon. It was found that test sample number 4, 18 FPI, had an overall better performance among the five samples.

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