An experimental study of the air-side particulate fouling in fin-and-tube heat exchangers of air conditioners


An experimental study was conducted to investigate the chronological performance variation such as pressure drop across a heat exchanger and cooling capacity due to the air-side particulate fouling of fin-and-tube heat exchangers for air conditioner evaporators used. Thirty samples of air conditioners used in the field such as inns, restaurants, and offices are collected in chronological order of use. This study was intended to provide factual long-term fouling data under actual operating conditions. It was found that the important parameters to influence the fouling of heat exchangers are the concentration and size of indoor pollutants, the filter efficiency, the hydrophilicity of fin surfaces, fin spacing, and the structure of fins. The pressure drop of heat exchangers increases from year to year due to the deposition of indoor pollutants larger than 1 Μm in size and increases up to 44% in the samples used for 7 years. Also, the air-side particulate fouling degrades the cooling capacity by 10-15% in the samples used for 7 years.

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Correspondence to Jae-Keun Lee.

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Ahn, YC., Cho, JM., Shin, HS. et al. An experimental study of the air-side particulate fouling in fin-and-tube heat exchangers of air conditioners. Korean J. Chem. Eng. 20, 873–877 (2003).

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Key words

  • Heat Exchanger
  • Particulate Fouling
  • Pressure Drop
  • Cooling Capacity
  • Air Conditioner