Facts On Heat Exchanger Tube Plugs

By Daphne Bowen


When it comes to selection of the devices to be used in heat exchange, it is the house engineers and designers who have to take action. Also, the tube plugs manufacturers have their role to play. Going about it blindly will give a bad outcome. Water quality, design of the devices and techniques of operating and maintaining the devices affect the choices made. Below is an outlook of facets of heat exchanger tube plugs.

Water quality is affected by the level of chloride, sulfide, manganese, residual chlorine and dissolved oxygen. Other specs which have an effect on the quality of water include sedimentation capacity, temperature and pH level. The ions of calcium, sodium, magnesium and iron are known to go up in water coolers. It is the amount of chloride ions in the water that dictate the alloys to use in manufacture of tube plugs.

Oxygen that has dissolved in water makes the tubes corrode faster. This is why it is important to add substances to bring down the oxygen levels in water. Copper alloy tubes are not very effective when the water has high oxygen concentration. In addition, they are not resistant to dirty water when sulfate is present. The best plugs to go for in such a situation are the ones made from titanium and stainless steel.

When chlorine is dissolved in water, the resulting compound is hypochlorite and it causes corrosion very fast. Chlorine is a popular element used in water purification. That is why the tube plugs should be made with consideration to this. The alloy should be resistant to corrosion. Also, the corrosion will happen faster if the temperatures are high.

Low pH means that the corrosion of plugs will happen quickly. The acidic compounds typically have low pH. Nonetheless, use of copper alloys in manufacture of devices can eliminate this problem. Besides strong acids, strong alkalis are corrosive too and they will cause damages to the tubes. The best alternative is ensuring that the pH of the water components is near neutral.

Manganese and also iron are the main elements behind water discoloration while it is being deposited. Stainless steel tube plugs cannot offer protection when the water is fresh. However, copper ones perform very well. The main determinant of the type to go for is the purpose you want the plug to serve.

Mass absorption or tube sediment are key factors in determination of thermal transfer degree when using heat exchangers. Creation of sediments in the plug inner surface decreases thermal transfer. Additionally, it reduces resistance to thermal transfer and also the level of flow section. The resistance offered is termed as fouling factor. Its calculation is not easy and many are the times estimates are given.

Many people go for cheap products because they do not want to spend much. What they forget is that the cost of maintenance and operating such devices will cost them a lot in the end.




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