Dry Ice Blasting Ideal Solution for Cleaning Fin Fans
When it comes to cleaning complex equipment like fin fans, dry ice blasting is the ideal solution. But in order to understand why it works so well, you need to familiarize yourself with how these sophisticated mechanisms work.
What is a Fin Fan?
A fin fan is a type of heat exchanger. (Some people call it an air cooled heat exchanger.) It’s typically used when a process system generates excessive heat that must be removed. Fin fans work by forcing the hot air over a set of coils, which cools the air prior to elimination.
A car radiator is perhaps the most common type of fin fan, but this is just one small-scale example. In industrial settings, fin fans are massive air-cooled exchangers that are comprised of a bundle of finned-tubes with box headers on both ends. These headers are configured in such a way that air can pass through a single time or continuously. The air typically blows upwards through the bundle and induces a powerful draft.
Fin fans are typically powered by electric motors. The fan has variable frequency drives that can change the speed to account for different demands.
You’ll commonly see fin fans in industries like natural gas processing, refining, petrochemical, oil and gas transmission, geothermal, heavy oil, gas compression, HVAC, shale gas and oil production, and LNG liquefaction and vaporization.
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Cleaning Fin Fans Using Dry Ice Blasting
Precautions for Cleaning Fin Fans
Fin fans serve an extremely important role in the functioning of turbines, engines, and other systems. As such, they must be regularly cleaned to ensure they work properly. However, without the proper precautions, cleaning can be a high-risk endeavor.
The problem with most cleaning methods is that they’re messy and abrasive. Not only can they compromise the system’s parts, but they can actually cause corrosion and/or force dirt, dust, and unwanted particles further into the system.
If you want to properly clean your fin fans, you need to use the right solution. This is where dry ice blasting comes into play.
Benefits of Using Dry Ice Blasting for Cleaning Fin Fans
Dry Ice Blast Cleaning can improve the efficiency of fin fan coolers by up to 35% by cleaning out years of built-up dust and debris, allowing air to pass through the fins.
Dry ice blasting works in much the same way as a sandblaster. However, instead of projecting sand particles out of a nozzle, it forces out small dry ice pellets. As soon as these pellets come into contact with the surface of the fin fan, the heat causes them to transition back into carbon dioxide gas. This gas expands, which causes the outer coating – i.e. the dirt, dust, or grime – to loosen and break free.
Ice blasting is preferred to sandblasting because it’s non-abrasive. No damage is caused to the system, regardless of how often it’s cleaned. Likewise, there’s no residue, moisture, or waste left over. This prevents mold, mildew, and corrosion.