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Title: Design and commissioning of a crude oil fouling facility
Author: Pental, Jerzy Krzysztof
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis describes the design, construction and commissioning of a major new facility for the study of the fouling of heated surfaces across which crude oil streams pass. The objective is to simulate the behaviour of surfaces in heat exchangers, typically those in a crude pre-heat train. The thesis presents a review of previous work in this area and discusses the design assumptions for the new facility. Safety has been a prime consideration and the safety philosophy and the main features of the safety systems are described. The thesis continues with a description of the construction of the facility and the installation of the instrumentation systems. The instrumentation is designed to monitor the performance and safety of the facility and to retrieve the data for use in assessing modelling methods. The rig was commissioned using a heat transfer fluid (Paratherm™) as a substitute for the oil and the commissioning tests are described. The rig has both tubular and annulus test sections. Though the tubular section models more closely the normal heat exchanger configurations, the use of the annulus section offers a number of advantages which include more accurate temperature measurement, the ability to remove the test section to examine the fouling layer and the ability to make continuous in situ measurements of fouling layer thickness. Using the annulus test section, however, raises the difficulty of retrieving data for the shear stress exerted by the fluid on the fouling layer on the inner tube of the annulus (this shear stress is recognised as an important parameter in many models) and of estimating the effective roughness of the fouling layer so that its effect on pressure drop in tubular geometries can be calculated. To address these predictions problems, an analytical method has been implemented and CFD studies have been carried out to explore the features of this analytical model. Chemistry aspects of the fouling process are also very important and these are also considered in the thesis. The research facility and additional associated tools and techniques form a unique and potentially extremely valuable asset which has great potential in improving the understanding and interpretation of crude oil fouling phenomena.
Supervisor: Hewitt, Geoffrey ; Dugwell, Denis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral