August 2004

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HP Water Management: Passivating heat exchangers: Is it necessary?

Refineries and petrochemical plants have a large number of heat exchangers. Maintaining reliability and heat transfer efficiency of these heat exchangers is critical to optimizing refinery operation..

Huchler, L. A., MarTech Systems, Inc.

Refineries and petrochemical plants have a large number of heat exchangers. Maintaining reliability and heat transfer efficiency of these heat exchangers is critical to optimizing refinery operation. Refinery operators clean heat exchangers during turnarounds, removing insulating scale and the protective metal oxide layer. Low pH excursions (e.g., process or acid leaks) also remove the protective metal oxide layer. New heat exchangers also lack a protective metal oxide layer. The value and methods for passivation of new, recently cleaned or compromised heat exchangers to restore the protective metal oxide layer are subjects of considerable debate. Cleaning new heat exch

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