By Robert N. Watkins
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It was considered that the rate of fouling would be directly dependent on the volume of ﬂuid in a heat transfer ﬁlm which would be at a temperature higher than that of the bulk ﬂuid. Hence, the volume of hydrocarbon likely to react would be reduced at higher velocity. In turn, this would mirror the common observation that fouling in oil reﬁnery heat exchangers could be mitigated by using higher velocities. Furthermore, a higher velocity would not only reduce the residence time of the thinner ﬁlm again leading to less fouling but also if there were a deposit removal mechanism taking place, then the rate of removal almost certainly would be increased by a higher velocity because the shear stress on the heat transfer surface would be higher.
In some cases, fouling just keeps growing at a linear rate, in some others, the thickness of the layer keeps increasing but the rate of deposition decreases over time (falling rate). If the conditions are such that the forces at which the foulants are deposited on the surface are balanced by the forces that either suppress deposition or remove deposited species, the observed behavior is deﬁned as asymptotic. 1): F. Coletti et al. 5 Idealized fouling curves. , 2010). Although there must be some sequential element to any overall fouling process, in reality many of these steps could, and probably would, operate in parallel.
Ebert and Panchal (1995) and Srinivasan and Watkinson (2005), for example, suggested that the fouling reaction takes place in the bulk ﬁlm and not at the wall surface, whereas Crittenden et al. , at (or near) the surface. A detailed description of the events in fouling formation is given in the following section. 4 Deposition mechanism where precursor generation is in the bulk (Case 1), in the boundary layer (Case 2), or at the wall surface (Case 3). Adapted from Panchal and Watkinson (1994). 3 EVENTS IN CRUDE OIL FOULING Fouling is a dynamic process.