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Design and Implementation of a Self-Cleaning Heat Exchanger Using a Digital Twin

Brooks, S. J. ORCID: 0000-0002-5712-7358, Yasin, A., Alatishe, K. & Roy, R. ORCID: 0000-0001-5491-7437 (2021). Design and Implementation of a Self-Cleaning Heat Exchanger Using a Digital Twin. In: Proceedings of the The 10th International Conference on Through-Life Engineering Services 2021 (TESConf 2021). 10th International Through-Life Engineering Services Conference (Tesconf2021), 16-18 Nov 2021, Online. doi: 10.2139/ssrn.3944684


Fouling can be reduced by careful design or surface treatment; however, regular manual cleaning is often still required. In this study, a self-cleaning heat exchanger system to automatically identify and remove fouling was designed. The Self-cleaning system was designed to operate automatically without human input and use a backwash of water through the heat exchanger tubes to clean them. A digital twin (DT) is utilised with a model of the performance of the heat exchanger; this is the first known research where a DT is used to control a self-cleaning (or self-engineering) response. The steps used to develop the DT are described, and the logic used to determine when to trigger self-cleaning. Temperature readings are compared to the DT model to determine when heat transfer is impeded by fouling. Tests performed with fouling added successful demonstrated the DT and self-cleaning. The effectiveness of the heat exchanger before fouling, with fouling and after cleaning was used to determine the effectiveness of the self-cleaning. The original performance returned by cleaning varied with 15%, 81% and 52% returned in each experiment.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Copyright the authors, 2021.
Publisher Keywords: Self-engineering; digital twin; self-cleaning; through-life engineering services
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Departments: School of Science & Technology
School of Science & Technology > Engineering
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