Energy efficiency: Modelling dynamic fouling.

Heat exchangers are used in almost every industry. When processing suspensions or complex fluid, the surface of heat exchangers are fouled by deposition of material (e.g. particles, colloids, corrosion, creation of a layer of a new product due to chemical reaction) that introduces an new insulating layer with additional resistance to the heat transfer. Heat exchangers are of course the key for energy integration in manufacturing processes, and so fouling ultimately reduces the amount of energy that can be recovered. This is not only an enormous economic cost and a major cause of CO2 emissions, but it introduces also a substantial environmental impact (e.g. water and chemicals used, their treatment and disposal) associated to cleaning the units. All these costs impinge on a variety of industries processing materials as diverse as crude oil, milk, polymers or detergent. In this project, we will create a modelling framework to study fouling in simple heat-exchanger frames, and we will apply it to well-known state-of-the-art computational and experimental studies (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/ie901991g). We will look at the fouling dynamics of various substances using theoretical models and we will use numerical simulations to describe the deposition processes and the resulting impact in the efficiency of the operation, applying advanced data analysis tools to identify the cause of fouling and apply remediation strategies.

Other Comments: 

Student requirements:
- A quality-oriented mentality and good mathematics.
- Interest in heat transfer engineering and energy efficiency.
- Programming expertise with Python, Matlab or Fortran or the ability to quickly develop it.

Supervisor name: 
Dr Victor Francia
Supervisor and Deputy email addresses: 
v.francia@hw.ac.uk; a.ozel@hw.ac.uk
Deputy name: 
Dr Ali Ozel