Effectiveness Stabilization and Plugging in EGR Cooler Fouling 2014-01-0640
Fouling in EGR coolers occurs because of the presence of soot and condensable species (such as hydrocarbons) in the gas stream. Fouling leads to one of two possible outcomes: stabilization of effectiveness and plugging of the gas passages within the cooler. Deposit formation in the cooler under high-temperature conditions results in a fractal deposit that has a characteristic thermal conductivity of ∼0.033 W/m*K and a density of 0.0224 g/cm3. Effectiveness becomes much less sensitive to changes in thermal resistance as fouling proceeds, creating the appearance of “stabilization” even in the presence of ongoing, albeit slow, deposit growth. Plugging occurs when the deposit thermal resistance is several times lower because of the presence of large amounts of condensed species. The deposition mechanism in this case appears to be soot deposition into a liquid film, which results in increased packing efficiency and decreased void space in the deposit relative to high-temperature deposits. This outcome occurs when the EGR cooler experiences relatively slow, cool gas flows. Under these conditions, the self-limiting aspects of the fouling process do not apply since the deposit does not experience substantial growth in temperature as it thickens. If these conditions persist, they will lead to plugging failures, rather than effectiveness stabilization.