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Oklahoma State University

Water fouling test facility

The water fouling test facility is designed to experimentally measure the heat transfer rate and hydraulic performance of plate heat exchangers (PHEs) under fouling conditions. The current set up replicates similar operating conditions as in the actual field of service. A variable-speed pump circulates refrigerant inside the testing PHEs. Refrigerant condenses at the ARI conditions of 105 to 110°F Saturated Condensing Temperature, 85°F Entering Water Temperature, and water flow of 3.0 GPM/ton.  The overall heating capacity is up to 37,000 Btu/hr (11 kW).

The water fouling facility is currently used to determine the fouling resistance of water cooled brazed PHEs by using simulated cooling tower water. The simulated cooling tower water is prepared in a batch inside the conical tank shown in the figure.  Water is then pumped through a series of pipelines into the plate heat exchangers and it is possible to develop correlations of fouling resistance and pressure drop with the water quality.