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Heat Transfer Fluids: Maintaining the System

By Chemical Engineering |

Organic-based thermal fluids provide relatively trouble-free service for significant periods of time. However, there comes a time when any fluid (either aromatic- or aliphatic-based) needs to be replaced. Since aromatic-based fluids generally cost more and are complicated to dispose of, they receive far more attention than aliphatic-based fluids when the time comes for replacement. Aliphatic-based fluids (manufactured with mineral oil, petroleum or poly alpha-olefins) are viewed less critically, since they are historically less expensive to purchase and are more easily handled as waste. As a result, these fluids are replaced more frequently than may be required. However, the recently rising costs of petroleum feedstocks have made these relatively low-cost hot oils more expensive to replace. To minimize the waste of good product, this article provides guidance on when to replace thermal fluids and how to achieve this using the most cost-effective method. (Part 1 of this report, p. 34, describes important considerations for avoiding overheating.) Analyze your fluid There is a tendency to blame every process problem, whether it be perceived or real, on the thermal fluid. For example, it is possible that a buildup of sludge or high viscosity…
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