Biofouling growth on tubular heat exchangers. Mathematical model and simulation
Crecimiento de biofouling en intercambiadores de calor tubulares. Modelo matemático y simulación
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Biofouling is one of the most serious problems to face numerous industrial processes. In the case of a tubular heat exchanger, biological deposits adhered to the inside surface of the tubes reduce heat transfer and therefore the thermal performance of the equipment. By virtue of this, control of this phenomenon is fundamental for both sea and land-based equipment to operate under optimal running conditions. A set of equations have been developed for this purpose which have enabled a mathematical model to be drawn up that is capable of predicting substrate and cell concentrations in the formation of biofilm over time, at any point in the tube. The said mathematical model serves as the basis for the creation of a computer simulation program that enables prediction of biofilm thicknesses and concentrations inside the tubes. It likewise allows experimentation with the heat exchanger under different working conditions and enables optimal down and cleaning times to be established.
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