Fouling of roughened stainless steel surfaces during convective heat transfer to aqueous solutions

A. Herz*, M. R. Malayeri, H. Müller-Steinhagen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


The deterioration of heat transfer performance due to fouling is the prime cause for higher energy consumption and inefficiency in many industrial heat exchangers such as those in power plants, refineries, food and dairy industries. Fouling is also a very complex process in which many geometrical, physical and operating parameters are involved with poorly understood interaction. Among them, the surface roughness is an important surface characteristic that would greatly influence crystallisation fouling mechanisms and hence deposition morphology and stickability to the surface. In this work, the effect of the surface roughness of AISI 304 BA stainless steel surfaces on fouling of an aqueous solution with inverse solubility behaviour has been investigated under convective heat transfer. Several experiments have been performed on roughened surfaces ranging from 0.18 to 1.55 μm for different bulk concentrations and heat fluxes. The EDTA titration method was used to measure the concentration of the calcium sulphate salt in order to maintain it at constant value during each fouling run. Experimental results show that the heat transfer coefficient of very rough surfaces (1.55 μm) decreases more rapidly than that of 0.54 μm. Several facts contribute to this behaviour notably (1) increased of primary heterogeneous nucleation rate on the surfaces; (2) reduction of local shear stress in the valleys and (3) reduced removal rate of the crystals from the surfaces where the roughness elements protrude out of the viscous sub-layer. The results also show linear and proportional variation of the fouling rate and heat flux within the range of operating conditions. In addition, the deposition process in terms of fouling rate could only be affected at lower surface contact angles. Such results would particularly be of interest for new surface treatment technologies which aim at altering the surface texture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3381-3386
Number of pages6
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium sulphate
  • Fouling
  • Heat transfer
  • Nucleation
  • Surface roughness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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